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Smiling Often Does Not Necessarily Bring Happiness, Here’s What To Do Instead

Smiling Often Does Not Necessarily Bring Happiness, Here’s What To Do Instead

A few years ago, a small movement was started where people came together in groups to practice smiling and laughing. You may have seen or read about it at the time. The reason these groups came to be was because it was thought that laughing and smiling would make people feel better and happier.

Did it work? Does smiling make you happy? One study suggests it may not have worked; that forcing yourself to smile and laugh could have the opposite effect on your happiness.

This study found that forcing a smile when you are feeling bad, can make you feel even worse about your situation — the smile is a reminder that you aren’t really happy. The “fake it til you make it” approach just doesn’t work for many people when it comes to happiness. There has to be a better way, and there is. Instead of forcing a smile, consider these suggestions.

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1. Be Honest With Yourself

If you are going through a hard time right now, the only way out is to deal with it, and the first step is to be honest with yourself about it. Many times, we try to deceive not only the people around us, but also ourselves. Give yourself permission to own how you are really feeling. If you know that forcing a smile is going to hurt more than it helps, don’t force it. It is OK if you don’t smile every moment!

2. Be Honest With Others

How many times do you answer the question, “How are you?” with “I’m fine,” or “Good.” How many times are you not feeling fine or good when you say that you are? Maybe it’s time to be honest with your answers to that dreaded question.

Of course, this doesn’t mean you give the cashier at McDonald’s your life story; sometimes it is necessary to smile and say “I’m fine” because being honest with others doesn’t mean opening up to everyone. Choose specific people in your life, who you trust, and tell them how you really feel. Tell them that you are tired of faking a smile, and tired of pretending to be OK when you really aren’t.

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When these people ask how you are, tell them the truth. The world needs more truth tellers because there isn’t one person on this earth who has not put on a plastic smile and pretended everything is OK when it really wasn’t. Not everyone will understand what you are going through, but they will understand how it feels to “fake it.” We have ALL been there!

3. Don’t Be Afraid to Get Help

There is never, never, never any shame in getting help when it is needed. Therapy, counselling, or sometimes even just talking it out with a good friend can help immensely. A good counselor will help you deal with the problem and give you the tools you need to find your smile again — the real smile, not the fake one!

This usually means work on your part — there are no magic words to make you feel better, but there are things you can do to change the way you think or view a situation in your life, and ways to correct certain issues that cause unhappiness. If you go and get help, remember to put into practice the suggestions given to you.

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4. Try a Real Smile on for Size

Whatever your situation is right now, whatever the cause of your fake smiles, there are still opportunities for your real smile to show itself. Think about what makes you happy. If you cannot think of anything, go a little farther back and think about the simple things that used to bring a smile to your face.

It could be something as simple as watching your dog play at the park, or listening to your favorite song. Or it could be something like sharing a good cup of coffee with a friend. Whatever it is, revisit those moments in your life that made you smile for real.

Go back and try it again. While that study proved that faking a smile doesn’t bring happiness, it did prove that when you are happy, you will smile. Go back to what makes you happy, and you will find yourself smiling again.

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(Please note that this article does not mention depression — this is an illness to be taken seriously, and needs to be treated by a professional. The advice given in this last paragraph will not help anyone who is severely depressed.)

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Last Updated on September 28, 2020

How To Study Effectively: 7 Simple Tips

How To Study Effectively: 7 Simple Tips

The brain is a tangled web of information. We don’t remember single facts, but instead we interlink everything by association. Anytime we experience a new event, our brains tie the sights, smells, sounds and our own impressions together into a new relationship.

Our brain remembers things by repetition, association, visual imagery, and all five senses. By knowing a bit about how the brain works, we can become better learners, absorbing new information faster than ever.

Here are some study tips to help get you started:

1. Use Flashcards

Our brains create engrained memories through repetition. The more times we hear, see, or repeat something to ourselves, the more likely we are to remember it.

Flashcards can help you learn new subjects quickly and efficiently. Flashcards allow you to study anywhere at any time. Their portable nature lends them to quick study sessions on the bus, in traffic, at lunch, or in the doctor’s office. You can always whip out your flashcards for a quick 2 to 3 minute study session.

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To create effective flashcards, you need to put one point on each flashcard. Don’t load up the entire card with information. That’s just overload. Instead, you should dedicate one concept to each card.

One of the best ways to make flashcards is to put 1 question on the front and one answer on the back. This way, you can repeatedly quiz yourself into you have mastered any topic of your choice.

Commit to reading through your flash cards at least 3 times a day and you will be amazed at how quickly you pick up new information.

As Tony Robbins says,

“Repetition is the mother of skill”.

2. Create the Right Environment

Often times, where you study can be just as important as how you study. For an optimum learning environment, you’ll want to find a nice spot that is fairly peaceful. Some people can’t stand a deafening silence, but you certainly don’t want to study near constant distractions.

Find a spot that you can call your own, with plenty of room to spread out your stuff. Go there each time you study and you will find yourself adapting to a productive study schedule. When you study in the same place each time, you become more productive in that spot because you associate it with studying.

3. Use Acronyms to Remember Information

In your quest for knowledge, you may have once heard of an odd term called “mnemonics”. However, even if you haven’t heard of this word, you have certainly heard of its many applications. One of the most popular mnemonic examples is “Every Good Boy Does Fine”. This is an acronym used to help musicians and students to remember the notes on a treble clef stave.

An acronym is simply an abbreviation formed using the intial letters of a word. These types of memory aids can help you to learn large quantities of information in a short period of time.

4. Listen to Music

Research has long shown that certain types of music help you to recall information. Information learned while listening to a particular song can often be remembered simply by “playing” the songs mentally in your head.

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5. Rewrite Your Notes

This can be done by hand or on the computer. However, you should keep in mind that writing by hand can often stimulate more neural activity than when writing on the computer.

Everyone should study their notes at home but often times, simply re-reading them is too passive. Re-reading your notes can cause you to become disengaged and distracted.

To get the most out of your study time, make sure that it is active. Rewriting your notes turns a passive study time into an active and engaging learning tool. You can begin using this technique by buying two notebooks for each of your classes. Dedicate one of the notebooks for making notes during each class. Dedicate the other notebook to rewriting your notes outside of class.

6. Engage Your Emotions

Emotions play a very important part in your memory. Think about it. The last time you went to a party, which people did you remember? The lady who made you laugh, the man who hurt your feelings, and the kid who went screaming through the halls are the ones you will remember. They are the ones who had an emotional impact.

Fortunately, you can use the power of emotion in your own study sessions. Enhance your memory by using your five senses. Don’t just memorize facts. Don’t just see and hear the words in your mind. Create a vivid visual picture of what you are trying to learn.

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For example, if you are trying to learn the many parts of a human cell, begin physically rotating the cell in your minds eye. Imagine what each part might feel like. Begin to take the cell apart piece by piece and then reconstruct it. Paint the human cell with vivid colors. Enlarge the cell in your mind’s eye so that it is now six feet tall and putting on your own personal comedy show. This visual and emotional mind play will help deeply encode information into your memory.

7. Make Associations

One of the best ways to learn new things is to relate what you want to learn with something you already know. This is known as association, and it is the mental glue that drives your brain.

Have you ever listened to a song and been flooded by memories that were connected to it? Have you ever seen an old friend that triggered memories from childhood? This is the power of association.

To maximize our mental powers, we must constantly be looking for ways to relate new information with old ideas and concepts that we are already familiar with.

You can do this with the use of mindmapping. A mind map is used to diagram words, pictures, thoughts, and ideas into a an interconnected web of information. This simple practice will help you to connect everything you learn into a global network of knowledge that can be pulled from at any moment.

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Learn more about mindmapping here: How to Mind Map to Visualize Your Thoughts (With Mind Map Examples)

Featured photo credit: Alissa De Leva via unsplash.com

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