Eyes up, back straight, smile

When I was a runner in high school, during my races, my coach used to scream at me--"EYES UP, BACK STRAIGHT, SMIIIILE". In my dazed state, I would do exactly that, pleasantly find myself feeling better, and eventually pass the girl ahead of me.

We know that our body reacts to how we feel inside. We feel happy, so we smile. We feel sad, so we cry. We feel bored, so we frown and let our eyes glaze over as we stare into nothingness.

Currently, I'm experimenting with making myself feel how I want to feel in any given situation. One technique I've found useful is to deliberately enact the physical consequence of the emotion I want to feel. So, for example, I want to feel interested in the stories my mother tells me. So, I sit up straight, nod at every pause, and ask a lot of questions. These physical cues anchor my attention to her stories--making me an attentive listener.

Similarly, I want to be a generally light, happy, and warm person. So, I've been forcibly smiling more even when I'm alone-- especially when I'm stuck on something I need to push through.

This practice is not unlike "power poses" they teach you to adopt before presentations in women empowerment workshops. But rather than enact these poses intermittently and feel disingenuous, I'm hoping that practicing these physical cues will change how I think about myself always. I want to generally look and feel how I consciously decide to look and feel.

I don't know how much this will actually affect my mood, work, and relationships but I know that this practice will make me physically more appealing in the long term. I'd rather have smile lines than frown lines when I'm an old woman 👵