One fine morning, and instead of the usual greetings of ‘hi, good morning, how are you’, my friend Deena surprised me by asking straight away: ‘Are you happy today?’ I smiled and started thinking whether I was really happy. I answered her with an apparent grin: ‘Yes, why shouldn’t I be happy?’ Deena responded cheerfully: ‘Great, that proves it’. Deena went on explaining that when starting a conversation with ‘are you happy today’ instead of the usual greeting you get people ‘happily’ surprised, get them to smile, and serves as an excellent icebreaker. This will also trigger your happy thoughts and positively impact your mood and emotions. And because emotions are contagious, this will spread out a certain level of ‘happiness’ to the people around you.
Starting your day with a smile! Why not. A beautiful, happy, and cheerful smile is always a good thing to start your day with. I don’t think anyone argues against that. Professor Daniel Freeman and Jason Freeman in their book ‘You can be Happy’ said that experiments have demonstrated that even if you feign a smile you’ll actually feel happier. Moreover, Ron Gutman in his Ted Talk ‘The hidden power of smiling‘ claims that smiling makes you live longer.
Happiness is far too important to leave it to chance. Happiness does not just happen; it must be made to happen. And guess what, it is not the job of your employer or the government or even your partner to make you happy. It is your job to make yourself happy. You should repeatedly practice ‘being happy’ until it becomes a habit, a natural thing to do. You can always start with a smile, the prelude to happiness.
I usually say to people: the first thing you should do every morning is to look in the mirror and smile. Seeing yourself smiling has a recursive effect that will boost your feeling of happiness. By smiling in the morning you actually increase your chances of having the feeling of ‘getting off at the right side of the bed’ every day. As Professor Daniel Freeman and Jason Freeman put it in their book ‘You can be Happy’, our extraordinarily complex organ –our brain- can be fooled by something as simple as a smile. If someone smiles when they look at you, don’t you light up from inside?
So what are you waiting for? Go on, give happiness a try, you can certainly do it. What we do have a great effect on the way we feel. Write on a piece of paper ‘I am in charge of how I feel, and today I choose to be happy’, and stick this paper on your fridge or on your desk in the office.
I recently watched an inspirational Ted Talk by Benjamin Zander about the power of classical music (if you like classical music, watch this talk. If you don’t, it’s more reason to watch it). Zander mentioned that someone he knew made the vow to ‘not say anything that wouldn’t stand as the last thing she says’. I would like to turn this over and say: let your smile be the first thing other people remember about you. You will certainly be happy.
Are you happy today?