fake_happiness.jpgIs your stress preventing you from being optimistic? Positive thinkers live longer lives, says a report on the Mayo Clinic, so you might want to start viewing the glass as half full to contribute to your better overall health. But what if you're having trouble working up a smile? Isn't it better to stay true to your feelings when you're sad? Well, it turns out that the old Charlie Chaplin song that starts out with the lines "Smile though your heart is aching / Smile even though it's breaking" actually gives good advice.

In an article on Womansday.com entitled "9 Ways to Be More Optimistic," author Amanda Greene says if you act happy when you're down, you can improve your mood.

Green quotes psychologist Dr. Mark Brown, author of the book Live Like a Window, Work Like a Mirror, who says your brain gives off the same chemical reactions whether your smile is real or forced. This means you can make your brain--and subsequently, yourself--feel better even when you're just faking happiness.

“So act in an optimistic way—smile, laugh, tell a joke or reassure yourself that everything is good—even if you don’t feel it," Dr. Brown is quoted as saying. This unique brand of therapy can easily turn a rotten day into something awesome, even if you didn't believe it could get better at first. Practice putting on a smile when you're having a particularly stressful shift at work, or if you're too tired to force it, take a quick break and visit a funny website to turn your fake smile into a genuine one.

[Click here to read "9 Ways to Be More Optimistic" on WomansDay.com]

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(Photo by Hauggen via Flickr Creative Commons)

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