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Smile Therapy...anyone can do it!

Research has shown that when you smile, your brain assumes you must be happy.
The following exercise can be a good way to start the day, especially if you tend towards depression:
  1. Set the alarm on your computer calendar (PDA, iPod, alarm clock etc.) to give an alarm each morning.
  2. When the alarm goes off, snooze it for one minute.
  3. Practice the following simple meditation (preferably with eyes closed):
- Tilt your head back and look up into the sky or at the ceiling
- Smile the goofiest smile you can and keep it up for the full minute
- Feel free to try different smiles: mouth open or closed, a subtle hint of a smile, exaggerated smile, big and soulful, eyes crinkling, or just mentally imagine smiling.
  1. When the alarm goes off again, continue with your day.
  2. Also, practice this smile therapy whenever you are down or are having a bad moment. Your brain will assume you are happy when you smile like this and release dopamine. Dopamine is a natural narcotic that our bodies create causing the sensation of pleasure, way more powerful than heroin without the cost or side effects.
You can practice this exercise for longer periods if desired, but if you find yourself canceling the alarm because you can't spare five minutes, go back to the one-minute meditation. The cumulative value of doing this exercise over a long period of time is more important than how long you spend each morning.

You can also practice this exercise while driving to work (with eyes open, of course, and while watching where you are going).

Happiness is a choice!

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