There is one act that generates immediate happiness; it’s free, it’s quick and it’s contagious; SMILING! Whether it’s a coy attempt with lips together or with one lip raised in the style of Harrison Ford, or perhaps you’re a cheesy ‘grinner’ like Wallace (& Gromit) or all dimples and cheeks like a 5 year old. It’s almost impossible to smile without feeling something that falls within the emotional spectrum of happiness. This is because smiling or this ‘facial posture’ is directly linked to an emotion or mood which is identified by the brain in relation to a behavioral pattern. If when you’re happy you smile then surely when you smile you’re happy.
Instant Face Lift
When we smile we engage nearly all of the muscles in our face. Active muscles are resisting gravity so essentially when we smile we get an instant face lift. But more than that we also get an instant mood lift (win, win!) Try smiling and holding it for around 10 seconds. Whilst to force a smile might initially seem like hard work if you’re not feeling great it will begin to improve your mood simply by default. If your current emotion does not correspond with the facial posture but you hold the posture (smile) for long enough your brain will instruct a mood change. The connection between our posture and the brain’s emotional well being becomes a useful tool in the regular practice of meditation.
Are You Sitting Comfortably?
Establishing the posture you meditate in should feel as natural as smiling. When you meditate your brain needs comfort and support so make sure that physically you tick these boxes. Your spine should be upright to give the brain the best chance to get ‘in the zone’. If you need to support your spine with cushions then do so. You can sit on the floor cross legged, on a chair or even in bed but make sure that each time you meditate you replicate the posture, including the position of your legs and how your hands are placed. What this means is that each time you make this posture your brain will know what is coming (meditation practice) and will get on board. Take some time to find your posture; here are some examples: