Don't Smile for the Camera, Smile for Yourself
By Louie Scwartzberg
Laughter may actually be the best medicine! People define happiness in many different ways, but at its core, leading researchers have proven that happiness involves feeling positive emotions that express life is good and meaningful. Understanding, accepting and living this idea of happiness reduces your risk of heart disease, strengthens your immune system, and might ultimately add years to your life. Happiness is also deeply intertwined into the idea of “Pay-It-Forward” and when you are happy, you tend to prioritize positivity in your day-to-day activity. When you laugh or smile or even think a good thought, your body responds to that just as much as your mind does.
It doesn’t take much to realize how beautiful the world around you really is. The more beauty you see, the more you smile—and the healthier you feel. Have you noticed differences in your health when you smile more?
To bring out your beautiful smile as often as possible, here are three simple activities we can all do to introduce a little more happiness in our lives:
1. Three Good Things
In our day-to-day lives, it’s easy to get caught up in the things that go wrong and feel like we’re living under our own private rain cloud; at the same time, we tend to adapt to the good things and people in our lives, taking them for granted. As a result, we often overlook everyday beauty and goodness–a kind gesture from a stranger, say, or the warmth of our heater on a chilly morning. In the process, we frequently miss opportunities for happiness and connection.
This practice guards against those tendencies. By remembering and listing three positive things that have happened in your day – and considering what caused them – you tune into the sources of goodness in your life. It’s a habit that can change the emotional tone of your life, replacing feelings of disappointment or entitlement with those of gratitude – which may be why this practice is associated with significant increases in happiness.
2. Best Possible Self
Sometimes our goals in life can be elusive. But research suggests that building optimism about the future can motivate people to work toward that desired future and thus make it more likely to become a reality. This exercise asks you to imagine your life going as well as it possibly could, then write about this best possible future. By doing so, research suggests that you’ll not only increase your happiness in the present but pave the way for sustained happiness down the line.
3. Positive Events
One of the most direct ways to increase happiness is to do more of the things that make us happy. But when life gets busy, we don’t always remember to make time for enjoyable activities. Intentionally scheduling a variety of enjoyable activities into the day can help overcome this barrier to happiness.
This exercise prompts you to engage in a variety of activities associated with happiness and reflect on how they make you feel. Different kinds of activities bring different kinds of satisfaction, all of which contribute uniquely to happiness. Research suggests that variety and novelty in daily activities is an important component of happiness, so trying a number of different activities can prevent you from getting so used to any one activity that it ceases to bring you pleasure.
People always brighten up the room when they smile. What made you smile today?
Gratitude Revealed is a journey into the science, mystery and building blocks of gratitude. In a series of 16 film shorts, acclaimed time-lapse cinematographer Louie Schwartzberg shows us not only what these ideas look like, but how they can be expressed in our daily lives.These stunning shorts have also aired as SuperSoul Sunday Shorts on the OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network. This journey begins with gratitude but the destination is entirely up to you, the viewer. Start your journey by watching the video above and continue it by exploring Gratitude deeper by clicking here.