One of my friends who work as an HR Head of a company called me after reading the story about me in Daccan Chronicle. I was portrayed as a happiness coach in this story and I had stated that happiness is a choice and it can be synthesized. His point of view was ‘we act the way we feel’ and hence it is impossible to act happy when we feel the other way around. This could be something, which many people are subscribing to.
One of the most helpful insights I had learned in my happiness research is that ‘Act the way I want to feel.’ Although we presume that we act because of the way we feel, in fact we often feel because of the way we act. Studies show that even an artificially induced smile brings about happier emotions, and one experiment suggested that people who use Botox are less prone to anger, because it is difficult for them to make angry faces.
The philosopher and psychologist William James explained, “Action seems to follow feelings, but really action and feeling go together; and by regulating the action, which is under the more direct control of the will, we can indirectly regulate the feeling, which is not.” Advice from every quarter, ancient and contemporary, backs up the observation that to change our feelings, we should change our actions.