The Topping of Choice – Spreading Happiness

 In Better Life, Focusing on the positive

I was feeling a little down a few days ago.  There was no real reason – I just woke up that way. As I considered my options, I decided to combine two strategies from my list.



  • Smile a fake smile, making sure you crinkle the corners of your eyes.  Researchers using functional MRI can see that this kind of smile causes the part of our brain associated with happiness to light up.  The key is to make sure we include the muscles around our eyes.  A few moments of holding this smile, and I usually notice it turns into a real smile and I’m feeling better.
  • Focus on helping others.  I had to get a few things at the store so I decided that I would smile at everyone who glanced my way. Not a quick, half smile, but a full-on, big smile with eyes crinkled, as if I were meeting a long lost friend.  I know smiles are contagious and that this could brighten the day (or at least the minute) of others.  It may sound easy, but I’m an introvert and this pushes me out of my comfort zone.  What if they don’t smile back?

The end result? I certainly didn’t feel like smiling (or going shopping), but by the time I was done, my mood had lifted considerably and I was feeling better after receiving so many smiles in return.  My hope was that several other people left the store in higher spirits too.

What’s on your list of positivity boosting strategies?  Are there some you can combine?


Tina Hallis, Ph.D., is founder and owner of The Positive Edge, a company dedicated to helping individuals and organizations increase their positivity to improve the quality of people’s work lives and the quality of company cultures.

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