Smiling and the Pursuit of Happiness

Jay McLaughlin Paris

I've been doing a lot of looking inward at myself lately, working out my various flaws and how I can achieve all the things I want to achieve. Last year I spent far too much time telling myself that life isn't fair, and complaining that I don't get the same breaks as other people. Well life isn't fair, deal with it. You can't always change the things around you, at least not instantly, but you can change yourself. One thing I noticed is that I'm often not "happy". That's not to say I'm always miserable, but more often than not, I'm just "ok"... which is fine. But I don't want to be just fine... I want to be happy! We all do, don't we?

Well surely if good things happen, they make you happy, so the key is to make good things happen. Well things aren't always gonna happen how you want them to, so that route is probably going to be a bit hit and miss. Plus, you keep hearing about all these lottery winners and the like who are miserable. Well that's not the outcome I'm looking for!

Happiness breeds happiness. Generally speaking (and there's always an exception, and some people just like to be miserable), we are drawn to happy people. It's one of the reasons we smile in family portraits. We like to see people smile, it makes us happy. We also mimic smiles subconsciously. If you go out into the street and smile at someone genuinely, the chances are they'll smile back.

Another awesome thing about smiling, is that you associate smiling with being happy, so the more you smile, the happier you will feel. Then when you smile at someone, you'll make them happy, because everyone likes to see smiling people. This in turn makes them smile back at you, which makes you even happier... Not least because you smiled at someone and they didn't think you were a weirdo! Haha.

Studies have shown that children smile far more than adults. Although, that's probably because they don't have as much crap going on in their lives to make them frown. Most parents with young children are usually happier because they spend more time around them and seeing them smile. Of course that all changes when they become teenagers and the smiling stops.

My point is, we can't always change the big things, but we can do small things which can start the ball rolling. People who smile are often seen to be more approachable. No one wants to talk to someone with a frown on. So if you're more approachable, you're far more likely to randomly get chatting to your next big client, date, friend, job etc... and those are all the things that make you really happy!