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How to Increase Your Chances of Smiling During the Day

How to Increase Your Chances of Smiling During the Day

They say a smile is a human’s most powerful gesture. Seriously, research shows that if you smile, your mood actually improves. When you activate this specific set of muscles in the face that work to create a smile, you are signaling the emotional centers of the brain that tell you how happy you are at that moment in time. So, why don’t we take the time to smile more often?

For me, I get so caught up in day-to-day chores and tasks that I forget to take a moment to look at the “big picture” and just “be” in the moment. I’ll spend hours focusing on an article or project and, the next thing I know, 3 hours have gone by, and I’ve just spent that time staring at a screen with a bored expression on my face. Perhaps if I had taken a moment to make a conscious effort to smile, I would have been more productive.

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Next time you’re at work, or even running an ordinary errand like grocery shopping, try to remember the tips below. I promise, one of these is guaranteed to make you smile:

Tell a joke.

Laughing is contagious, so go ahead and abuse that proven fact. Use Google to find a really funny joke, share it with a co-worker or friend, and feed off of their joy. Think about it: have you ever told a joke with a serious face? Unless you’re Serious Cat, you probably won’t be able to NOT laugh while sharing that hilarious joke you found on Google with your best work bud.

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Do a good deed.

Cliché, I know. But how can you not smile after seeing the reaction of someone you just performed a kind gesture for?

Tell someone how much you care about them.

For this one, I’m not talking about telling your significant other, or even your immediate family that you care about them. Go out of your way to send a quick text or video message to that grandparent you rarely call, or even your kid cousin. If they’re anything like my relatives, they’ll most likely respond with something corny and ridiculous that will bring a big goofy smile to your face, similar to the smile you used to make as a kid after realizing your mom was pulling into the McDonald’s drive-through.

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Think about your best friend.

Remember that time when you and your bestie could not stop giggling about something? Think back on that moment, and try to relive that distant catalog in your memory.  Warning: this may cause an actual LOL moment. Make sure you’re not in a public setting that is super quiet, like on a bus or in an open-space working environment. You’ll definitely benefit from the loud laughter by smiling uncontrollably, but people might look at you like you’re an insane person.

Take time to breathe and take in your surroundings.

Next time you’re annoyed by something, take a moment to do a few breathing exercises and look around at everything around you. A long, deep breath increases the mood enhancing power of smiling. Take a second to breathe and notice the beautiful weather outside, or the detail in a piece of artwork nearby.

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Think about fluffy animals doing super cute things.

Or, even better, look at images of fluffy animals doing super cute things. How can you NOT smile after going through this gallery of cute animal photos. It IS called The Happiness Generator after all.

Envision your Happy Place.

Where do you find yourself smiling the most? It doesn’t have to be on a private beach resort where you’ve shared margaritas with a friend; it can be your living room or perhaps your favorite local bar. Thinking about a place that you associate with good times will make you smile. But yes, a place that involves a good beer or whiskey sour doesn’t hurt.

Find a way to laugh at yourself.

Are you stressed about a way you handled yourself around a new boss? Try and look past the awkward situation and choose to laugh at yourself instead. Trust me, it will make you feel a million times better about that awkward hand gesture you made, or lame advice you shared earlier that day.

So the next time you find yourself having not smiled for a good chunk of time, try and refer to this list of happy tips. By taking the time and making the effort to try and put a smile on that straight face of yours, you’re hacking your way to happiness, one facial muscle at a time.

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Last Updated on March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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