Walking to work last Monday, I was not in a good mood, but not quite in a bad mood. Then I passed a woman who looked absolutely miserable.
Seeing her made me think about something that Thich Nhat Hahn, a Vietnamese Buddhist monk who was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize by the Rev. Martin Luther King, once said. He urged everyone to practice mouth yoga (smiling). If you do so, he said, you will feel more positive, at peace.
Hmm, maybe being in a good mood is a choice, I thought. I can’t fake being happy. But what about acting "as if” I’m happy?
I arrived at my office building and ran to the elevator before it closed. “I don’t know why I’m running to my office this morning,” I said to a woman in the elevator. We both laughed. When she got out on the 4th floor, I found myself saying: “Keep that smile on your face today.” She turned and said, “I certainly will.”
The door closed and I thought: Me too. Today I’m going to keep a smile on my face, no matter what.
Later, I stumbled upon this quote:
Every instant of time is a new choice. As in the past he has made himself what now he is, so in the future he can carve his destiny and make himself to be precisely in accordance with the vision that he has of himself to become in the future.” —G. dePurucker, “Wind of the Spirit”
In other words, happiness can start with a little mouth yoga.
Anne Simpkinson is the current managing editor of Guideposts.org. This blog post, which first appeared on the site, is reprinted here with permission of the author.