How to Feel Better -- Right Away
by C.S. Clarke, Ph.D.
Part 1 of 5
Don't just smile. Despite the amount of research cited by those that tell you to "smile, you'll feel better," smiling in and of itself may not be enough. Yes, it's true that smiling will give you a momentary lift while you're doing it, but the feeling doesn't last.
What the "Smile!" enthusiasts usually forget in their excitement to relate the research findings is that in practice, the benefits of smiling come from doing it frequently, looking for reasons to smile and smiling at others (with the added interpersonal benefit of getting smiles in return.) Furthermore, you'll do best with genuine smiles that give a twinkle to your eyes, even though you can actually feel better with just a fake smile.
So, yes, smile. Just do more than looking in the mirror and smiling once in the hopes of feeling better all day. Otherwise, you might just as well scowl and stick out your tongue.
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