Our last post shared a brain hack that will help you feel more alert and awake in only 15 seconds. This hack is even quicker and simpler. If you are feeling sad or down, all you have to do to feel better is force a smile and improve your mood instantly!
Neural Loops in the Brain
The human brain uses neural loops as shortcuts in thinking. Many of these loops are innate, meaning even babies do this without being taught how. For example, try holding your breath and tell your brain not to take a breath. Our brain circuitry is designed to override our desire and take a breath, no matter how much we fight that urge.
These neural loops have a stimulus and response. When we are happy, endorphins are produced and neurons are transmitted from the brain to your facial muscles to trigger a smile. This begins a positive feedback loop of happiness; smiling signals the brain to further increase our happy hormones (endorphins) and the endorphins make us happier.
Brain hacks allow us to reverse the loop. Instead of feeling tired and making our eyelids droop, we force our eyelids to open up to feel more awake!
Brain Hack #2 – Cheer Up!
Brain Hack 2 reverses the neural loop for smiling to improve your mood instantly. Instead of feeling happy resulting in a smile, we force a smile in order to feel happier!
Anytime you want to cheer yourself up, force your face into a full smile. Even a fake smile works about as well as a real smile. Scientists have found that simply contracting the facial muscles into a smile releases dopamine and serotonin in the brain. These endorphins are reward signals and cause an improvement in mood.
Try It Now…
Even if you have already smiled while reading this post (and we hope you have) – smile right now. Do it slowly and involve your entire face – mouth, chin, and eyes.
The next time you notice yourself feeling sad or blue, force a smile and feel a little better!
…and Use This Hack on Others
This hack will also improve the mood of your family, friends, and strangers. If you are around other people try smiling in their direction. We predict that many of them will smile back at you – improving both of your moods instantly!
Smiling more often is a simple way to make people like you more. It will also make you feel better yourself!