“Fake it until you feel it”

IMG_6736.jpgThe title of this article probably sounds like I am encouraging you to be a fraud, or dishonest. But that is not what I want to talk about at all. So just keep reading a little bit, I promise it will be worth your while !

It’s one of those days

We usually all have one of those days. You know what I’m talking about. You wake up sluggish and get out of bed after having snoozed your alarm for the hundredth time. You spill your coffee on the table – or on your bare feet. You feel groggy, not alert…In fact, you do not feel like doing anything except forget about everything that’s on your to-do list, and binge watch Netflix while eating everything unhealthy you possibly own.

This feeling of hopelessness is not uncommon, and it can surface any day, any time, without even needing a reason. What an inconvenience. And it is what happened to me yesterday. The night before, I had a little fever, and went to bed at 9pm, hoping to wake up feeling fresh and energetic. The opposite happened. I felt lethargic, stagnant, tired.

Even though I suspected my body to hide the start of a cold or something, I knew my mood was guilty too for the way I was feeling. In other words, I felt tired and grumpy and annoyed, so my body refused to do anything.

I followed my own advice and got inspired

There I was, sitting on the couch with my laptop, browsing the internet. I could not get myself to do anything. So I decided to apply some of my own advice in this previous post about happiness boosters to get myself moving. I could neither workout nor cook because I felt weak, and nauseous. But I made myself some green tea, and started to browse YouTube. I always have my “to watch list” that is full with a great number of videos that I have not had the time to watch yet. So I watched some of them, and ended up finding new channels and new inspirational youtubers.

This really gave me a jolt of positivity, and helped to clear my mind. I was not thinking about any worries that I might have (and which I could not do anything about), I was fully engaged with the person on my screen.

Feeling more inspired, and being the clutter-clearing freak that I am (hello spring cleaning !), I naturally started to reorganize my shelves, my books, my magazines. I changed the place of some items, I put together all my candles to make a nice layout, I threw some old things. And it felt good. I felt renewed. My worries were still there, but in the back of my mind, not constantly and directly in front of my eyes.

A turn on happiness strategies : Act happy, then feel happy

In the afternoon, I received an invitation to go over at a friend’s house for some tea to see one friend that was in town for the weekend. I was still in my pjs, still a bit weak, but I went anyway because I knew that by acting happy, I could become happy. This is the strategy of the “fake it ’til you feel it”. It sounds fake, but it is just a derived approach of the “fake it ’til you make it” that is actually used a lot in therapies, or to fight depressions.

The principle is quite self-explanatory. When you feel down, just act as if you were happy : smile, give compliments, try to think about positive things, spend time with friends, work out, dance… It is in fact scientifically proven that even just smiling when you feel down can improve your actual mood. So you fake it, but then it becomes real. This reminds me of therapy laughter, when people feel a bit awkward at first to force themselves to laugh but end up not being able to stop.

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The major obstacle ? Your mind

The major obstacle to be able to “feel it” in the end, is that you have to convince yourself that it is going to work, even though it might seem unpleasant for you to smile for no reason when you are sad, or when you think you do not want to see anyone and would rather spend your day in your pjs sipping tea. In most cases, you feel much better afterwards. Smiling makes you happy, being surrounded with friends will uplift your mood and will make you forget what was going wrong in the first place (if something was even going wrong !)

So do not think that because a day started badly, it has to end badly too. You are the one in charge of your life, of your choices. You just have to be a little bit more mindful and try to see the bigger picture. Do not beat yourself up : empower yourself instead, because you are worth it.

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