Smile Meditation

What is my favorite technique to lift my mood instantly?

Smiling. 🙂

Yes, it is that simple. Smiling is a tool that can change your entire attitude in a moment.

Let me tell you a story….

Back in 2009, life was a bit stressful in the Yoga Nerd household. My husband’s business was still finding its feet and he wasn’t taking a paycheck.  I wasn’t making enough to cover all the bills, so our credit card debt was rising.

Driving to a massage gig one day, my mind was spinning on all of these stresses. My stress level was rising with every spin around my fears. It was very uncomfortable and not helpful at all. And I was very aware it was not fair to my clients to receive massages from a person whose mind was spinning in stress and fear. I needed to do something to change my state of mind.

I needed to be happy and positive for my clients. I had heard somewhere that what you do on the outside changes how you feel on the inside. So, I tried to stop the negative thoughts by just smiling.

There I was driving to work with a big stupid smile on my face. I mean, my face started to hurt a bit because it was such a big stupid smile.  At first the negative thoughts kept going. Then a shift happened. It was actually quite remarkable. I suddenly started thinking of the bright side of the situation. “Hey, you are still somehow making it work. You are still paying everything on time. You haven’t missed a bill or paid a late fee. That’s something. That will definitely help your credit in the end. You are somehow making it work. You could be in a lot worse situation. Seriously.” And, yes, the positive voice made it sound like I was talking to myself.

But my mood had lifted. I felt hopeful again. We know that what we feel on the inside shows on the outside. The reverse is also true: what we do on the outside affects how we feel on the inside. And smiling is a powerful tool for both the inside and the outside. Let me explain.

When you smile, the brain releases happy mood transmitters like dopamine, endorphins and serotonin. These not only make you happier, they lower your blood pressure and heart rate. Furthermore, serotonin is an antidepressant. A lot of antidepressant medications increase the levels of serotonin in the brain. This means a smile is just as powerful as a pharmaceutical drug. That’s superpower powerful!

And we have this super powerful tool with us at all times. It costs nothing.  It takes no special skills. It can be done anywhere at any time. 


So take a few minutes and listen to this smile exercise. I guarantee even if you fake your smile at the beginning, it will have you feeling happier by the end.