“Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy.”’ – Thich Nhat Hanh
If I told you there was a depressed person behind a screen and offered you $10,000 to describe him, would you be able to do it? Of course you could. You know he’d be drooping, shoulders hunched, head down, face downcast. Just as easily you could describe a happy, excited, enthusiastic person. You know from experience that when you are in a great mood, you smile, stand straighter, walk faster and talk more quickly. It turns out that if you smile, stand straighter, walk faster and talk more quickly, you may also feel happier.
Neville Goddard (1905-1972), a New Thought leader popularized by the interest in the Law of Attraction, introduced us to several ‘mental laws’. These include the Law of Substitution, Fourth Dimensionality Thinking, and the Law of Reversibility.
The Law of Reversibility states that,
“If an effect (a) can be produced by a cause (b), then inversely, the effect (a) can be produced by the cause (b).”
Like many of the ‘Laws of the Universe’ taught by Goddard, his contemporaries and today’s Law of Attraction gurus, the Law of Reversibility is not only common sense but is now backed up by scientific research. Several studies have snown a connection between smiling and a more positive mood.
A 1998 study by Kleinke, Peterson and Rutledge had subjects view photographs of people with positive or negative expressions. The control group was asked to just view the photographs. One group viewed the photos and then mimicked the expression they saw. The other last group mimicked the expression while looking in a mirror. A mood scale was used before and after the test to measure changes in emotion. The control group had no change in mood while both of the other groups had changes in mood based on the pictures they viewed. If they viewed positive pictures and imitated the facial expression, their mood became more positive. If they viewed negative pictures, the resulting mood was more negative. the mirror group had even more of a mood change.
It turns out that it’s not necessary to actually feel like smiling to reap the benefits of moving your face into a smiling expression. A great big fake smile works just fine. In fact, just saying ‘eeeeee’, which forces you to stretch your lips into something vaguely resembling a smile, has been shown to result in a positive change in mood.
The Law of Reversibility means that if you know how you hold your body and face and how you behave when you are happy and positive, you can then create that feeling by ‘acting as if’ you are happy regardless of your actual mood. If you speed up your rate of speech and your movements, smile, raise your eyebrows, open your eyes, look upward, stand straighter, you will start to actually feel happier and more positive.
Remember, your thoughts create your reality. If you behave as though you are having a great day you will start to have happy positive thoughts, which in turn, will actually result in positive things being attracted into your life. You will find your day turning around and it will no longer be an effort to think more positive thoughts. In other words, if you smile even when you have nothing to smile about, you’ll find that soon you will have something to smile about.