Fake it til you make it

Have you ever had one of those days- A day where you started off feeling less than your best and everything went rapidly downhill from there?  I think we’ve all had one of those.  Sometimes we might think that there is nothing we can do about it but I don’t believe that at all.  In my experience, there are a number of things we can do to turn the day around and make it a good one.


I remember a high school teacher I had once who came to work wearing a bright yellow blouse.  She looked lovely in it and I told her so.  Her response surprised me.  She said “I wasn’t feeling so good this morning so I wore something bright to cheer me up.”   I have often thought about that in the years since.  Is it possible to change the way we feel by changing the way we behave or the things we think and talk about?

How many times do we leave home feeling a little under the weather and then, rather than making the best of it, we tell everyone we meet how dreadful things are?   They are then encouraged to tell us about the awful things happening in their lives and we find ourselves on the slippery slope to feeling depressed.   There’s not much chance of things improving after that.

There is scientific evidence that suggests that our thoughts can affect our physical health.  Researchers testing a new medicine will often trial the drug with three goups of patients.  One third of patients receive the drug, one third receive a placebo (take a fake pill that has no effect whatsoever) and one third receive no treatment.  They then compare the results of these three groups.  What is interesting about this is that there are often a number of patients in the placebo group who respond as if they have been receiving the actual treatment.  Their condition appears to improve simply because they believe the drug will work.

While we can’t change how we feel when we wake up in the morning (unless of course there is a sleep issue happening), we can certainly change how we approach the day from that point onwards and quite possibly alter the way we feel as a result.

Things to try the next time you are not feeling 100%:

1) Smile.  Smiling stimulates a chemical response in your brain which improves your mood.  When you smile, other people are encouraged to smile back at you and the effect is reinforced.  Start with a smile and you may well find that the day turns out not to be as bad as you once thought.

2) Wear a bright colour.  When you wear black it’s as if you are a walking thunder cloud.  I understand that some people prefer to wear dark colours and I have no issue with that but you might like to try adding a colourful accent piece to lift the outfit and your mood.

3) Look for the silver lining in the situation.  Dwelling on the negatives can make it almost impossible to move forward.  If however, you start by finding something good to build upon, things can seem a lot easier.

4) Avoid the pity party.  Find positive, uplifting people to associate with and talk to rather than those who are going to drag you down with them.

5) Get some exercise.  When we exercise our bodies release endorphins which have a positive effect on the way we feel.  This doesn’t have to be some organised activity or an hour at the gym, 15 minutes walk around the block with the dog will do it.

We often underestimate the effect our beliefs have on the way we feel and the capacity of our behaviours to change our moods.  Next time you are feeling off for whatever reason, have a go at some of the ideas above and see what happens.  You might just be surprised.