“Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy.”’ – Thich Nhat Hanh
Neville Goddard (1905-1972), a New Thought leader popularized by the interest in the Law of Attraction, introduced us to several ‘mental laws’. These include the Law of Substitution, Fourth Dimensionality Thinking, and the ‘Law of Reversibility’.
The Law of Reversibility states that,
“If an effect (a) can be produced by a cause (b), then inversely, the effect (a) can be produced by the cause (b).”
Like most of the ‘Laws of the Universe’ taught by New Thought leaders, the Law of Reversibility is not only common sense but is now being backed up by scientific research.
A 1998 study by Kleinke, Peterson and Rutledge had subjects view photographs of people with positive or negative expressions. The control group were asked to just view the photographs. One group viewed the photos and then mimicked the expression they saw. The other last group mimicked the expression while looking in a mirror. A mood scale was used before and after the test to measure changes in emotion. The control group had no change in mood while both of the other groups had changes in mood based on the pictures they viewed. If they viewed positive pictures and imitated the facial expression, their mood became more positive. If they viewed negative pictures, the resulting mood was more negative. the mirror group had even more of a mood change.
It turns out that it’s not necessary to actually feel like smiling to reap the benefits of moving your face into a smiling expression. A great big fake smile works just fine. In fact, just saying ‘eeeeee’, which forces you to stretch your lips into something vaguely resembling a smile, has been shown to result in a positive change in mood.
But you know all this already, don’t you? If I told you there was a depressed person behind a screen and offered you $10,000 to describe him, would you be able to do it? Of course you could. You know he’d be drooping, shoulders hunched, head down, face downcast. Just as easily you could describe a happy, excited, enthusiastic person. You know from experience that when you are in a great mood, you smile, stand straighter, walk faster and talk more quickly.
Years ago, I recognized this when my mood turned in a moment and then within a few hours turned again. I went from having what I call a low gravity day – when I feel like I’m floating – to a high gravity day – when I can barely lift my feet off the ground to walk– and back again to a low gravity day.
I had just started a great new training contract that was set to run for a few months and would be very lucrative. The week before the training started I had applied for a loan to buy a new car and on the first day of the training I called the bank to arrange a time to go and sign the papers.
During the first break of the day, I went out to call the bank, this was before we all carried our phones with us. I literally felt like I was walking on air. Great new project with fun people, a new car all picked out and ready to be purchased—everything felt like it was going my way.
When I talked to the loan officer she told me that it had been turned down because I was self-employed. They just didn’t feel like I was as a good risk since I relied on projects and contracts. She said she’d resubmit it if I could show her I had a predictable income. I promised to get back to her but all my happiness had escaped as if it was let out of a balloon. I trudged back down the hall to my next session and I remember feeling like suddenly there was a lot more gravity holding me down. My whole body felt heavy and even my voice was lower.
At noon I went and got the required paperwork and took it in to the bank. Later that afternoon, I called again and found out I had been accepted. All of a sudden, I was standing straighter, walking more quickly and speaking in a lighter, faster voice.
The Law of Reversibility means that if you know how you hold your body and face and how you behave when you are happy and positive, you can then create that feeling by ‘acting as if’ you are happy regardless of your actual mood. If you speed up your rate of speech and your movements, smile, raise your eyebrows, open your eyes, look upward, stand straighter, you will start to actually feel happier and more positive.
Remember, your thoughts create your reality. If you behave as though you are having a ‘low gravity day’, you will start to have happy positive thoughts, which in turn, will actually result in positive things being attracted into your life. You will find your day turning around and it will no longer be an effort to think more positive thoughts. In other words, if you smile even when you have nothing to smile about, you’ll find that soon you will have something to smile about.
Afterthought: I just realized something. When I was a kid in England, one of my favorite television programs was The Flowerpot Men. I’ve seen it since and it is mind-numbingly mindless and plodding but when I was little I loved it. In particular, I loved the flower. In my memory it was a tall daisy-like flower and it would say ‘weeeeeeed’ in a very high-pitched flower-like voice. That’s all. It might not sound like much but compared to the flowerpot men who just made ‘blob blob’ sounds, it was wonderful. I would go around all the time imitating flower and saying ‘weeeeeeeeed’. I think that might partly explain why I was a pretty happy child in spite of an extremely disruptive life. I was making the right face – a smiley face – and so I felt happy.
I’ve been teaching my grandson that a flower says ‘weeeeeed’ and he’s a happy guy. You see? Little things……..