On the Blog

Happiness Tip: Say Cheese

Say CheeseAre you documenting this Labor Day with lots of pictures? (My kids are certainly smiling–only 3 days of school and already a holiday!) Say cheese along with your friends and family and boost your own happiness in the process.

Here’s an amazing fact: facial expressions and body postures alone can actually make us feel. Facial expressions alone, without first feeling the corresponding emotions, are enough to create the discernible changes in your nervous system. Tighten your jaw and narrow your eyes as if you are really angry. Your body will usually release adrenaline and your heart rate will speed up as if you are actually angry. The same thing is true for positive emotions. This means that sometimes we should just smile, even if we don’t feel like it.

Take Action: Move your facial muscles so that you are technically smiling. When you lift up your lips and crinkle your eyes, your body will release all kinds of feel-good brain chemicals into your system after a couple of minutes. You can hold a pencil between your teeth or mimic the act and you will likely slow your heart rate and start to feel calmer, happier. Warning: I’ve found that the pencil clenching trick works, but it makes me drool.

Join the Discussion: Do you feel a little happier? Share in the comments.





Friday Inspiration: Stop Dreaming

Why we need to stop dreaming about becoming someone we admire, and get busy becoming ourselves.





Happiness Tip: Return to Your Routine

Concentrated young man drinking coffee while reading newspaper a
I LOVE THE FALL!!!

I’m getting very excited for September, and not just because my kids are headed back to school this week…I love the fresh start that the new school year brings, and I love my routines! We’ve had a wonderful summer, but there is something that is still so exciting for me about getting back into the swing of getting up early again, and about having a regular schedule.

Researchers believe that the brains in both humans and animals evolved to feel calmed by repetitive behavior, and that our daily rituals and habits are a primary way to manage stress. Ever notice that you always drive to work the same way, even though there are dozens of other routes? Or that you always put deodorant on right after you brush your hair? Each of us has hundreds of little habits that carry us through the day. The fast-paced world we live in can feel quite unpredictable, but our daily rituals can help us feel more in control, often without us ever realizing it.

Take Action: Return to routine. What daily routine or ritual did you drop this summer that will provide you with a little respite of calm if you get back into it this fall?

Join the Discussion: What routine do you look forward to getting back into? Leave a comment to inspire others.

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Recent Press

The New York Times Motherlode Blog
"How to Start a Year-Round Family Gratitude Ritual" ...read

The Dr. Oz Show
"Happiness Boosters" ...watch

PBS Newshour
“What Makes Us Happy?" ...watch

Fox Business News
"How to Boost Office Morale"
...watch