On some days, it feels like meditation is just not making a dent. Whether I am too jittery to sit still, or just overwhelmed, it is time to pull Plan B. No, I am not referring to smoking weed or taking Xanax, that is Plan X, I am suggesting something much simpler and a little more holistic: smiling.
I sit (or lie back) and force a smile on my long face. This is not always easy, especially when smiling is the last thing on my mind; but it’s worth the effort. I grin and I also try to breath fully into my abdomen, while expanding my nostrils. After several minutes — it can take a good 5-10 min as time is needed for the effect to work, something starts to change. My problems do not magically disappear, but rather my attitude towards the challenges at hand slightly shifts, and sometime this is all that it takes.
- I still meditate, even if I don’t feel like it. The influence of meditation is far deeper than what we may emotionally feel during the time of meditation, and the long term effect is well worth it.
- Sometimes I can meditate more easily after the smiling exercise.
- I found the smiling exercise to be effective also while driving, especially when feeling stressed about the day ahead. Some other drivers may think you are just an idiot but who cares. Besides, today most drivers are too busy breaking the law and texting, thus no one really takes notice.
- When an upgrade to the smiling technique is needed, watch the video below about laughing yoga.
Learned from: self-observations and John Cleese’s video