As of now, I’m approximately halfway done reading The Happiness Project: Or, Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun (holy longest title ever!) by Gretchen Rubin. So far, I really love this book. I think, when I finish, I’m going to start a Happiness Project of my own.
Anyway…in developing her project, Rubin established “Twelve Commandments.” One of those commandments is: “Act the way I want to feel.” I think this is a wonderful concept. People say that laughter is infectious, right? Why can’t we infect ourselves with good moods? Rubin quotes William James (philosopher and psychologist): “Action seems to follow feeling, but really action and feeling go together; and by regulating the action, which is under the more direct control of the will, we can indirectly regulate the feeling, which is not.” In other words, fake it ’til you make it!
I’ve been pondering this idea for the past couple days. I’ve wanted to put it into practice, but it’s been a little difficult, since I’m sick. Oh how I love my regular sinus infections! Today, I tried to push through the sickness anyway. I felt like a zombie at work, with my head in a fog. In any case, whenever I was away from my desk, I tried to force a smile on my face, even though I didn’t feel like smiling. It didn’t help me feel any better, but I suspect the sinus congestion had a great deal to do with that. Toward the end of the work day, I started listening to music and continued to force myself to smile. Surprisingly, it worked. I felt like I was in a better mood. In fact, I even started dancing in my chair a little bit.
I’m going to try to continue to be aware of my mood and facial expression going forward. Anytime I catch myself scowling or feeling blah/down/depressed/etc., I’m going to force a smile and fake energetic happiness. Maybe it’ll catch on.