Day 8: The Inner Smile

Hey again!

Welcome to Day 8. Today is going to be a short lesson, but the exercise is simple and effective, and something that I use all the time.

We often mistake what is going on in the body for who we are. Really, the body is just a reflection – in some ways a shadow – of the processes that are occurring in the mind. Every time we make a facial gesture, for example, a scowl, a look of surprise, or even cringing in disgust, these are correlated with a feeling we experience in the mind.

One of these gestures is a smile. Smiling releases neuropeptides that work to counteract stress. A smile also releases the feel-good neurotransmitters: dopamine, endorphins and serotonin.

However, this correlation goes both ways. We can also generate the feeling of a smile in our mind without actually smiling.

If you close your eyes and imagine yourself smiling (you can really smile if you want to), it’s guide easy to bring to mind the ‘feeling’ of a smile.

This is a meditation practice from the philosophy of Taoism, and the more we practice it, the easier it gets. The great thing about this is that, although we would love to be able to smile brightly, all the time, it’s not always socially appropriate. Fortunately, we can get the sample benefits from this simple inner smile practice.

 

  1. Practice the inner smile 5 times today.
  2. If you remember the calm pause exercise from yesterday, you can integrate the two, smiling whenever you take a moment to pause between activities.
  3. At the end of the day, write two sentences about how you think the inner smile influenced your mood.

Good luck,

Ben

P.S. Get ready for tomorrows lesson where we’re going to be talking about the how to dissolve boundaries between yourself and others.

Are you feeling down? Overwhelmed?

I've teamed up with BetterHelp to offer a FREE 7-Day Online Therapy Trial.

Fill in the brief personality questionnaire and talk to someone today!