According to the yoga tradition, 80% of your problems can be solved with mouth yoga. That is, what you eat and drink and put in your mouth, what you say, and who you kiss makes a big difference. Wise yogis ask us to consider 3 things before saying something:
- Is it true?
- Is it necessary?
- Is it kind?
Practice smiling, whether you feel like it or not, is the advice given by Thich Nhat Hahn, a Vietnamese Buddhist monk who was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize by the Rev. Martin Luther King, He said you will feel more positive and at peace. He says in his book, Be Free Where You Are, he gives us the exercise of “Breathing in, I smile. Breathing out, I release.” If you’re wondering why you should smile when there isn’t joy inside, he answers, “Smiling is a practice. There are over three hundred muscles in your face. When you are angry or fearful, these muscles tense up. The tension in these muscles creates a feeling of hardness. If you know how to breathe in and produce a smile, however, the tension will disappear – it is what I call “mouth yoga.” Make smiling an exercise. Just breath in and smile – the tension will disappear and you will feel much better.”
Belleruth Naparstek calls smiling “affirmations for your face” and promises you’ll start getting smiles back from others. I call it smile-asana. Go ahead… and Smile Now!
Do you have jaw tension? Do you grip your teeth tightly? Try opening your mouth and moving your jaw up and down and sideways to relieve tension. Another method is to rub your scalp around the half-moon circling over the top of your ears. While you’re at it, rub your outer ears with your fingertips and thumbs for a nice energizer. Lowering your caffeine levels may relieve jaw tension too. Come on now, let go … and smile!
Do you know what the yoga police say? “You have the right to remain silent.”
What you see and hear matters too. Habib Sadeghi writes about a phenomenon called the Illusion of Truth Effect. Basically, it says that repetition increases our mental validation of anything we’re exposed to whether or not the information is true or not. Hearing or seeing something consistently is viewed as more valid than messages we’re exposed to only occasionally. A weak message repeated twice becomes more valid than a strong message heard only once, according to research from the University of California at Santa Barbara. Therefore, be careful of the messages you’re being exposed to since repetition matters. Think again about all those political messages and evaluate their accuracy with facts. Sadeghi offers these recommendations in his article:
1. MAKING WORDS WORK. To consciously harness the power of words for your benefit, start with the ones you’re using.
2. NO NAME-CALLING OR SELF-CRITICISM. Everyone is doing the best they can at any moment in time with the consciousness they have to work with, including you. Be kind and offer yourself the same empathy and compassion you’d extend to anyone else.
3. STOP ALL SELF-DEPRECATION. Never make your body, or something you’ve accomplished, or anything else in your life the butt of a joke. Words have power, and quantum energy doesn’t have a sense of humor.
4. RESIST GOSSIPING AND SPEAKING ILL OF OTHERS. It’s impossible for your words to resonate in anyone else’s body but your own.
5. GO ON A NEGATIVITY DIET. Instead of saying that a meal was terrible say, “I’ve had better.” You’ve basically said what you wanted to say without putting negative energy through your body—you even used a positive word to do it!
6. BOOST THE POSITIVE ENERGY OF WORDS. Instead of saying something like you had a good time at a concert, ramp up the positive energy by saying great, terrific, or fantastic, instead. These feel much better and generate a bigger energetic response in the body.
7. IF YOU HAVE SOME NEGATIVE NANCYS IN YOUR CIRCLE OF FRIENDS, limit the time you spend with them or find better friends. Negative energy has a way of dragging everything surrounding it in, like a big black hole. Avoid it when you can.
8. SURROUND YOURSELF WITH POSITIVE, UPLIFTING WORDS. Put affirmations on sticky notes around your home and office that say wonderful things about you, your family, or your goals. Wear clothes that have positive messages or phrases on them. Imagine the kind of positive energy you’ll be generating for yourself when you’re wearing positivity all day long. As you keep doing these things, you use the power of repetition in a highly effective way for your benefit. You have the power to change your world, and using words consciously is one of the quickest ways to shift the energy you bring into your life.