Trick your brain to feel happier

Posted by Karen Degen on 5th November 2019

Tags: feel happier, smiling, trick your brain

Did you know that if you change your body language it can trick your brain to feel happier?

For instance, smiling (even when you don’t feel like it) creates a chemical reaction in the brain that releases certain hormones, including dopamine and serotonin.  Dopamine increases our feelings of happiness and Serotonin release is associated with reduced stress.  Its like ‘fake it till you make it’, but it works.  It’s been scientifically proven that smiling tricks your brain into believing you are happy, which can then create actual feelings of happiness.  The great thing is that the brain can’t tell whether you’re smiling because you’re genuinely happy, or because you’re just pretending.

Here’s something weird:  A study performed at the University of Cardiff in Wales found that people who could not frown due to botox injections were happier on average than those who could frown!

Here’s something else weird:  If you (fake) smile at yourself in the mirror, it actually makes you (real) smile back and feel happier.

In general, happy people stand up straight with their head up and look straight ahead.  There is no slumping like you see with unhappy people.  You can actually trick your brain into feeling happier if you do the same.  Change the body first, then the emotion follows.

Next time you don’t feel happy observe your own body language.  Then correct it to what it would be if you were feeling great.  Chest out, head up, a small smile on your face….  you will actually start to feel happier quite quickly.  You can supercharge this by adding happy thoughts.  Tell yourself things like “I’m happy”, “I’m feeling good”, “all is well in my world” etc.  The happy thoughts will release the hormones and chemicals that create actual happiness.

So next time you are feeling low, adjust your body, adjust your smile and adjust your thoughts.  Your brain will be successfully tricked and the happiness will become genuine.