Just be happyNow and then it’s good to pause in our pursuit of happiness and just be happy.

 Guillaume Apollinaire

We’re exploring HAPPINESS this year on Girlfriendology. We’ve looked at Girlfriend Advice for When You’re Sad over Happy Things, What happens when the Girlfriend Book Club ‘gets real?’, and On Being Sincerely Happy. But this week, we’re hitting the pause button on Happiness!

By now you’ve likely discovered that this whole chasing, creating, growing and nurturing our happiness is a lot of work. So every once in a while it’s a good idea to take a break from the action – pause in the pursuit of happiness. And just be happy.

If you’ve been working at it long enough, you are keenly aware of what it feels like to be happy, and to put things in perspective. You also realize that time you’re spending on feeling stressed or angry or in any way negative is time you are taking away from your happiness. You likely can take a break and live off your happiness reserves for a bit.

If you’re newer to the active pursuit of happiness, taking a break may seem like taking a step or two back. But if it’s just for a short break, try this: fake it ‘till you make it.

Volumes have been written about this simple idea. Basically, it combines a bit of understanding (of what it’s supposed to be like when you’re happy) with some self-awareness (manipulating your physical and psychological self to imitate being happy). In other words, turn that frown upside-down – literally – and act “as if” you’re happy. I know, it sounds a little “Matrix,” but there is a wealth of scientific research that confirms the effect.

One study went as far as having participants bite down on a stick, which approximates the facial expression of a smile, and found that in responding to a variety of stimulus the stick people were happier than those without sticks.

Expectation and belief are powerful feelings, especially in the short term. Simply believe that you can be happy and it can become a self-fulfilling prophesy! Some believe that a prediction about an outcome can trigger behaviors that make the prediction come through.

Fake it ‘till you make it. Start by telling yourself you’ve got it in you, the capability of being happy. Then do things that occur when you’re happy. Smile. Think of good, happy memories. Tell yourself you can do it and it will very likely happen.

Still, there’s no substitute for working toward the real thing. So hit the pause, fake it ‘till you make it if you need to, then get back to the business of happiness.

Have a great – happy – week girlfriends!

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