Yes Yes Yes! An experiment in positive psychology

A few days ago, I decided to try an experiment.  I’ve been sort of dragging around the streets of Bangkok, trapped inside my stories about how my life is going, and my vague uncertain plans for how to proceed.  I’m always analyzing, what’s the right way forward?

Now it’s good to plan, but it’s important to act, and planning takes mental energy.  Mental energy spent on analyzing reduces energy available to get stuff done.  It slows down every action by prefacing it with a “should I do this?” moment.  It empowers the Inner Critic, and makes the Actor play second fiddle.  The Actor is too dangerous to be trusted.  The Critic must be watching everything to make sure no Mistakes are made.

This dismal dance is not a healthy way forward.  So what’s the answer?  Haha, nice try Mr. Analysis.  The answer is to act.  I started with a simple exercise, which if I recall correctly I first learned from Tony Robbins, or maybe it was a book on happiness I read a few years ago.  It goes as follows:

Act extremely happy for 10 seconds!

This will make you feel happy and give you energy.  The way I do this is by raising my arms over my head, and saying “yes yes yes yes yes yes yes” (that’s seven of them in case you are counting) in an enthusiastic voice, while smiling and laughing.

Now this is not a pretense or a lie to myself or an attempt to forget my problems.  It is not delusion.  It is simply a technique, like stretching your hamstrings. Research has shown that smiling releases endorphins even when the smile is induced by simply holding a pencil in your mouth and forcing the corners of your lips up.  I’m using physiology to my advantage.

By doing this each day, I have found an incredible surge in happiness and productivity and a decrease in the need to plan everything out.

Admittedly, I have many systems in place to support me in my happiness, and I have no idea if this would be as effective for others as it has been for me.  And of course, astute readers will notice it’s only been in place for a few days.  But for me, there is no denying it is working.  I have put it into place in my personal reminders and am curious to see how long it takes to get stale.

Give it a shot and share below how you feel after doing it even one time.  🙂