Act the way you want to feel

Earlier this month I had a week that was pretty intense. Lots on my plate, lots on my calendar, lots of deadlines. Feeling overwhelmed and pressed for time, I went to work early on Thursday and again on Friday (and abandoned some good habits in the process).

Knowing I would get more done if I acted like happy, relaxed Christin than if I acted like stressed-out, overwhelmed Christin, I did just that. I acted the part.

What would a happy, relaxed Christin do?

  • A happy, relaxed Christin would put playlists before podcasts for the commute. So I did.

  • A happy, relaxed Christin would stop to visit her parents when a detour rerouted her on the way to work, even though she wouldn't get to work as early as she intended. So I did.

  • A happy, relaxed Christin would keep that music on while she rocked her to-do list that morning. So I did.

  • A happy, relaxed Christin would take a moment to celebrate the successful completion of a project. So I did.

To be clear, when I started the day, I was neither happy nor relaxed. But by taking a few steps to act as if I was, I began to experience more of those feelings. In The How of Happiness, Sonja Lyubomirsky says, "Remarkably pretending that you're happy--smiling, engaged, mimicking energy and enthusiasm--not only can earn you some of the benefits of happiness...but can actually make you happier." She goes on to quote Darwin: "the free expression by outward signs of an emotion intensifies it."

How do you want to feel?

How would you act if you felt that way?

Act the way you want to feel.

Photo by juan mendez from Pexels

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