What is “Half-Smiling”? A technique adopted from Buddhist practice. It is also used in DBT, and CBT.

Did you know this? 🤓

There is a technique called “Half-Smiling” used in Dialectical Behavioral Therapy and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. A major focus in DBT and CBT is the practice of mindfulness. Mindfulnessis being aware of your reality and bringing attention to the present moment, without judgment. Mindfulness is also prominently used in meditation. The “Half Smiling” technique was actually adopted from Buddhist practice. Come to think of it, many DBT and CBT skills stem from Buddhist practices. “Budda” quite literally means “enlightened one“. You can use the “Half-Smiling” technique to uplift your mood. 💓

Your body communicates with your mind, right? The reason why this works is because of something (heavily studied) called “Bi-directional behavior” which, simplified, is the relationship between the brain and behavior. Your brain constantly communicates to the body. The body communicates back to the brain. 🧠

When you are experiencing the feelings of happiness, joy, excitement, love… What manifests in the physical body? You smile! 😄 Thank you brain for communicating the expression of this emotion to the body! Current studies show that this is a two-way street, man. You can send messages back to the brain with physical body movements and postures. (Think about how mindfully practicing yoga makes you feel! Have you heard of the Smiling Buddha Kriya?)

Have I caught your attention yet?

Okay, okay, okay… Get on with it, lady!

What is this skill and how is it done?!

You can use this skill anywhere. When you’re stressed out at work, when you’re sitting in traffic, when you first wake up in the morning (even if you AREN’T feeling negative emotions or low vibrational frequencies.)

Practice this skill for a few minutes. I recommend 5-10 minutes. You can practice this skill while you are doing other things, or you can come to a centered and mindful place like a meditative state. It’s up to you and how adapting this skill fits into your situation.

Remember that strong link between facial expressions, postures, movements, and human emotion. Relax your face. Release tension in the forehead. Release tension in the jaw. Relax the shoulders. Notice how you are feeling. Smile, mindfully raising both of the corners of your mouth until you feel a small amount of tension. This isn’t a full-on cheeky, toothy grin. Keep this half-smile on for 10 minutes. Bring awareness to your breathing while practicing this technique. Alternatively, you can hold a pen or pencil in your mouth, the pencil will hold the corners of your mouth up, tricking the brain into thinking you’re half-smiling. 😉 At the end of 10 minutes, check-in with how you are feeling now.

If no changes are noticed after 10 minutes, give it another 10 minutes, except this time bring the half-smile energy to the eyes. Half smile while mindfully engaging the eyes. Do you know the feeling? You can give it a try to recognize the feeling. When you full-on smile, the energy reaches up into the eyes as well, not just the mouth and cheeks. So take another 10 minutes to half-smile while engaging the eyes. Afterward, check-in with yourself and notice how you are feeling.

Do you feel the difference in your mood, your vibration with just 10 minutes? Compare that to the weeks you wait for medication to work. ***I AM NOT SAYING USE THIS TECHNIQUE TO REPLACE MEDICATION AND PROFESSIONAL MEDICAL advice FROM YOUR DOCTORS, COUNSELORS, PSYCHIATRISTS, ETC***

Recommended times to practice half-smiling:

When you are sitting in traffic

-When you are irritated

-When you first wake up in the morning

-While listening to music

-While in a seated position

-While you are laying down

-When you are at work

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Here are some sources:

-Bi-directional behavior: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29027865

-What is DBT? https://www.mentalhelp.net/dialectical-behavior-therapy/what-is-it/

-DBT® Skills Training Handouts and Worksheets, Second Edition Spiral-bound – October 21, 2014  by Marsha M. Linehan PhD ABPP

-What is CBT? https://www.apa.org/ptsd-guideline/patients-and-families/cognitive-behavioral

-Smiling Buddha Kriya: https://www.3ho.org/kundalini-yoga/mantra/smiling-buddha-kriya

-Art: http://brunogiuliani.blogspot.com/2017/03/la-joie-de-creer-la-joy-tribe-le.html