SUMMARY POINTS

  • Any kind of smile can boost your mood and reduce stress
  • Smiling and meditation is a powerful combination for stress relief
  • Look for opportunities to include quick smiling meditations in your day
You get home after another rough day at work and you're ready to relax.

You've barely kicked off your shoes before even more stress hits you.

Now, it’s all the home and family issues that you’ve got to deal with for the rest of the night. There are no easy evenings here for you.

It's an endless cycle of stress and unhappiness that's dragging you down.

You've heard that laughing and smiling is good for you but you can't remember the last time you cracked a smile, never mind laughed.

You need a way to get a positivity boost from smiling, even when you feel like screaming, crying, or just simply giving up.

This is where a smiling meditation can work wonders. It's a new kind of meditation that’s easier to do and combines two proven ways to boost your mood and manage work stress like a boss.

The Powerful Effects Of A Smile

A smile may be incredibly simple but it’s also extremely powerful.

Smiling can boost your health and even make you more successful at work. Smiling at other people helps them too. And best of all, it's free and takes seconds.

Those people who always find something to smile about are really onto something and here's why.

Smiles Are Universal

It doesn’t matter what language you speak, where you’re from or what your cultural background is. A smile means the same thing to everyone. It conveys happiness and joy without words.

According to this study, even remote tribes in Papua New Guinea who have no connection to Western culture understand what grins are all about. They interpret smiles in exactly the same way as Westerners, despite the differences in culture. 

Smiling Improves Health

Smiling has positive effects on your hormones. It reduces stress hormones like cortisol, adrenaline, and noradrenaline and promotes feel-good hormones such as dopamine and serotonin.

And as this study from the University of Kansas shows, smiling reduces stress even if it's the last thing you feel like doing.

Smiling also helps improve your physical health too. It can lower your blood pressure and increase immunity, possibly because of the relaxation effects. 

Smiling Lifts Your Mood

It’s an instant mood booster too and it can make you feel happier.

Take this study from Cardiff University. It looked at women who had been given Botox injections that meant they couldn’t frown. They reported stronger feelings of happiness and lower levels of anxiety compared to the women who hadn’t had Botox and were able to frown. And this wasn’t down to them feeling more attractive, either.

When you smile, the emotions on your face are reflected in your brain. The physical has a direct impact on the mental. Smiling opens up a positive feedback loop that stimulates your brain’s reward systems.

The benefits of smiling happen even if you’re faking it too. Your brain can’t tell the difference between a genuine smile and a completely fake one. The same brain chemicals are released in both scenarios.

This study from the University of South Australia proves the link. Holding a pencil in your mouth forces your facial muscles upwards, much the same as smiling does.

Even if you don't feel like smiling, you can still reap the benefits. Try it and see!

Smiling Boosts Your Personal Brand

Smiling can even help you get ahead at work. When you smile, it makes you appear competent to others.

This study shows a link between seeming more attractive when you smile and the knock-on effects for your success. It helps to further polish your personal brand at work.

However much you feel like scowling at work, force a smile instead. It might just help you get ahead! 

Smiling Triggers Good Karma

Smiling doesn’t only benefit you. Since the energy you give out has an immediate impact on everyone you come into contact with, you can use it for doing good.

You’ve probably felt this energy shift with certain people. When Negative Nancy strikes again, your whole demeanor plummets to the ground in seconds. You can literally feel the positive energy draining out of your body. But it’s a totally different story with happy, positive people. Their energy is infectious and you feel better just by being around them.

It’s because smiling can trigger a positive attitude and sweep away negative ones. It makes people feel better about themselves. You can make someone else’s day a lot brighter just by smiling at them.

And that comes back around in karma. 

How To Do A Smiling Meditation

A smiling meditation takes the power of a smile and combines it with the ultra-easy one-minute meditation. It’s an easy way to maximize stress relief through meditation and you don’t need a ton of time to do it.

Smiling meditations aren’t a new idea. They’re an ancient Taoist practice that’s based on harnessing the healing power of a smile.

It clears away negative energy and helps calm the mind and heal the soul. By the end of a smiling meditation, you can feel the positive energy flooding your body. It’s just what you need to kick work stress into the gutter.

If you’re never heard of a smiling meditation before, it’s not that different from regular meditation. It’s just not as hard.

1) Get Comfortable & Relax 

First of all, make sure you’re somewhere comfortable when you start a smiling meditation.

You can either be sitting or standing. It doesn’t matter. What matters is that you’re comfy and not straining in any way.

So, you can be sitting at your desk, outside on the patio, in a dedicated quiet room or even inside your parked car. Wherever you are just get comfortable.

Close your eyes and breathe deeply to center yourself. Try to relax every part of your face while you do this. It can be hard to do this when you're feeling uptight and wound up so don't worry if it's hard work at first to relax your face.

2) Start Smiling

Once you’re feeling calm and centered, it’s time to smile.

You don’t need to paint a big cheesy grin on your face. Just let the corners of your mouth turn up into a smile for now.

Thinking about something that makes you feel happy really helps.

Close your eyes and think back to an amazing event. Relive that moment in your head with as much detail as you can remember.

When was this?

Where were you?

What were you doing?

Who were you with?

What was the weather like?

What emotions were you experiencing?

It’s hard not to smile when your mind goes into a happy place that lights you up. Plus, it’ll clear away negative energy.

Another option is to look at photos that take you back to a great moment in your life or watching funny Youtube clips has the same effect.

Or, just scan through our list of 101 reasons to smile right now and we guarantee that you’ll smile within minutes.

3) Feel Yourself Smiling Inside

An inner smile is the ultimate aim. Activating this goes a lot further than your face. The smile comes from your heart and infuses every cell in your body.

And one of the best ways to achieve this is by having an attitude of gratitude. Being grateful for even the smallest thing in life can do wonders. It’s a simple little trick to triggering happiness.

It could be the puffy clouds outside your window, the cubicle plant on your desk, sloppy dog licks, etc. Anything goes.

Let the positive energy spread over your face and feel every part of your face smiling.

Then expand it to the rest of your body.

Let it spread to your internal organs too so you can harness the true healing benefits of smiling. Feel your happiness radiating from the center of your heart out all the way out to your fingertips, toes, and the top of your head.

Because an inner smile comes from deep within you, it's something you can do anytime you need to.

With regular practice, you can activate your inner smile at will and feel instantly calmer.

That's one for the future though. For now, just focus on bringing your inner smile to the forefront and immersing yourself in the full-body positivity it brings.

4) Focus On Happy Thoughts 

Cycle your mind on the sensation of feeling happy and content and soak up the positive thoughts that flood through your mind.

This is your moment of calm. Savor it and ride the wave of positivity.

Here’s a guided meditation to take you through the basics of a smiling meditation.

VIDEO: 5 min to an inner smile
YOUTUBE: EkhartYoga
LENGTH: 6:21
Summary points:
  • Start off with simple breathwork
  • Let your smile reach the rest of your face
  • Share the smile with your loved ones

When To Do Smiling Meditations

Life is busy, we get it. And when shit hits the fan at work, things can really get out of hand and crazy busy. But, that doesn’t mean you can’t squeeze in a smile.

Lots of day-to-day scenarios lend themselves really well to doing smiling meditations.

If you’ve got a few minutes to kill or even in between tasks, you can easily fit in a smiling meditation. The more you do it, the more it will become second nature to ward off stress before it controls you.

1) When You Wake Up 

Doing a smiling meditation when you first get up sets the tone for the rest of the day. It’s like giving yourself a mental happy pill first thing in the morning.

Your mind is calm and you feel positive and energized. It can make a huge difference to your attitude and mood. It’s a great morning routine for non-morning people.

Instead of snoozing your alarm clock every morning, spend those moments on a smiling meditation instead. Sit up at the side of your bed, give yourself a nice morning stretch and then do a 60-second happy session.

2) When You Use The Bathroom

Smile in the mirror whenever you’re in the bathroom, whether it’s in the office or at home. You might feel like a weirdo but it's a quick and easy way to boost your mood.

Then take it a step further with a smiling meditation. Let the smile spread.

You can even do a quick toilet meditation while you’re using the bathroom. Trust us, this isn’t as weird as it sounds. Give it a try and see how calm you feel afterward.

3) Micro Sessions Between Tasks

Got a few minutes in between boring calls or stupid meetings?

Do a quick smiling meditation. Focus on your breath and reach for your inner smile.

You can do it in between a few emails, when you’ve completed the presentation slides, after finishing the excel analysis, etc. You can even do it while walking from one meeting room to another.

You'll feel energized to get on with the next task.

These micro-sessions are perfect for releasing stress and tension when time isn’t on your side.

With breaks like this, you’ll be able to do more with less stress because you actively whittle down and manage your stress.

4) On Your Commute

If you commute by car, you’ll know how quickly the drive can turn nasty. There are tons of asshole drivers out there.

By the time you get to work or home, your blood pressure is sky high and you feel like you’ve gone through a battle just to get there in one piece.

You gotta turn your commute into relaxing me-time so that you don’t fall into the road rage trap.

Reframing your commute as a chance to get some much-needed me-time is the way forward. And smiling meditations are just the thing to do while stuck in traffic. Who said you can’t meditate in your car?

It's a perfect opportunity to get your mind in calm mode and get to work or home in a relaxed mindset.

5) Out In Nature 

You’ll get the best bang for your buck if you combine a smiling meditation with getting out in nature.

Have you ever wondered why so many spiritual retreats are surrounded by mountains or forests?

It's because being in nature has some incredible effects on mental wellbeing.

Even if your green space is just a city park, it's still a great opportunity to get back in balance.

Do a walking meditation at the same time and your stress will lift instantly.

Walking in nature releases endorphins, which make you feel happier. Plus, it helps you improve your cognitive function and be more creative.

When all of the bullshit is about to overwhelm you, get up from your desk and give yourself a timeout and do a smiling and walking meditation outside.

When you come back, it'll be a lot easier to get in the zone with work.

6) At The End Of A Stressful Day

After a day that has you ready to tear your hair out, a smiling meditation will get you relaxed and give you a mood boost.

Put your feet up, get comfortable and settle down for a meditation session. You'll soon forget about what was stressing you out and feel inner peace.

Doing a smiling meditation when you've finished work introduces clear boundaries. It's a signal to your brain that work is done and it's time to fully disconnect from work and relax.

You could even double up the goodness by doing a wine meditation or beer meditation too.

Smile Away Your Stress

Between work and family, life is stressful. Most days, it feels like you've got nothing to smile about. But pushing that aside will make you feel happier and calmer.

A simple smile can maximize the stress-busting effects of meditation. As well as feeling calm, you get a positivity boost.

You can do smiling meditations any time you can grab a few minutes for yourself. First thing in the morning, in the car, even in the bathroom. It’s all fair game for helping you get that quick stress relief you really need.

Don’t worry if you don’t feel on top of the world when you do a smiling meditation. Even forcing a smile works. It still triggers the same brain chemicals as a genuine smile so you can get the benefits even if you’re not feeling it.

Just do it.

You'll be feeling more positive before you know it.

Feel Better,
[Cubicle|Therapy] 

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