Day two was different than day 1. This one focused on the person simply taking control of themselves. Interestingly, the people who are generally happy anyway did not report to feel any different. They had already conditioned themselves to smile. One participant was taught when she was young to smile for the first 30 minutes of the day and now, she finds smiling to be her natural state. Several people had rough days related to circumstances in their lives and found the smile to be forced, but still having a positive impact on their day. Two people felt that the power attained from thinking that others wanted good for them (day 1) was more exciting than simply saying that they were happy because they wanted to be happy.
The experiment yielded some interesting conversation as well. One gentleman responded back with a an observation that he was bobbling back and forth between what he thought the world (others) would define as happy and what he thought was the definition of happy. In that exchange, I asked him to define what it meant to be happy in one sentence. I think that he captured the essence of what many people miss and that is that being fully present, and living in the moment that you are in, allows you to let go of past stresses, forget about potential stresses in the future, and immerse yourself in doing what you love.
The experiment was not really about defining happiness, but it was a very interesting topic. The individuals that had rough circumstances forced a smile anyway. The people with great circumstances found the smiling to be easy and natural. The circumstances would have happened either way. The point was to choose to smile regardless of what was going on. Those who did reported that they were happier with the people around them and generally happier with themselves.
The idea for this came from a study at UC Berkley that was evaluating the effectiveness of controlling your physiology versus taking anti-depressants. In the study, they found that the individuals who smiled for one hour a day while looking at themselves in the mirror reshaped their image of what they were supposed to feel. Those who took anti-depressants had moderate improvements, and the control group who was taking a sugar pill actually improved more than the ones on actual medication but not as good as the ones who smiled at themselves. 99% of people who smiled at themselves in the mirror reported to be "no longer depressed" at all. That was more than double the positive response of those who took the medication.
When we smile, we begin to define ourselves as happy or positive or just in a good mood. When we hold our faces and our bodies in such a way that looks depressed or unhappy, then we either create or reinforce those negative or depressed emotions. I promise I am not going all "Tom Cruise" on you, but I am saying that smiling makes a positive difference for most people, particularly if you take the time to see yourself smile.
I look forward to reporting the findings again tomorrow! We have another experiment started already. If you want to participate, connect with me on Facebook and I will add you to the group. We added two more today.
To Your Success!
Author, Speaker, Trainer, Motivator... Smiler
Jody is a writer, motivational speaker, consultant, and entrepreneur. He has been the keynote speaker at over 250 events around the world. Jody speaks more than 150 times per year at different programs, and he has given more than 10,000 speeches during his career.