just pretend to be happy

Life has a way of bringing us down, doesn’t it? If we’re not careful, the daily stresses and challenges can steal our light and easily cage us in the victim mindset. We start looking at life through a negative lens, and complaining about anything and everything, distancing us away from happiness, joy and tranquility.

Of course, you can’t change these automatic patterns overnight, but you can gradually nudge yourself a little every day towards the brighter side of life and shift your negative and toxic mindset to a more optimistic and hopeful one. 

As I have previously discussed numerous times, happiness is not something to be pursued. You can just choose to be happy, right here right now. If you struggle with this, here’s what you can do: just pretend to be happy. 

That’s right, you don’t have to “feel” happy to experience happiness. Think of yourself as an actor, playing the role of a happy, cheerful and grateful person. Just try it for a few hours or days, and see how it goes. 

Research studies have shown that when a person mimics the emotion of happiness, for example, a smile, a grin or a laugh, the emotional response actually follows. This is called “facial feedback hypothesis.”

Just think of a time in your life when you felt anxious and sad, and then a cheerful person just came along and totally flipped your mindset. That’s a great example of how this mechanism works. 

A study led by investigator Sigal Barsade, Ph.D. reported that happiness is indeed contagious. It showed that when one positve person entered a room, the entire group’s positivity escalated. Not only that, their work performance improved as well.

So, in a nutshell, it’s not that difficult to flip your emotions. If you catch yourself getting in a victim mindset or are tempted to start complaining or blaming someone or something, just lift the corners of your lips and forcefully turn your sad face into a happy one, even if you find it silly or weird. And then to further build the momentum, list three to five things you’re grateful for, have a cup of your favorite beverage, or give a compliment to the first person you see. You’ll feel incredibly better just in a span of few minutes; it’s nothing short of magical.