In the perpetual quest to face the world with all your greatness showing, getting your morning kicked off on the right note can be the make-or-break field of play for the day.

I know exactly how woo-woo this will sound, and have already had a serious bout of SMH (Shake My Head) about how sharing this will cement my place in the not-so-credible windchimes and whale song camp...but I am finding this practice, recommended by a friend,  to truly affect my day and I think it will do the same for you, so here we go...

Take a Smile Shower. There. I said it. Have your eyes stopped rolling yet?

For the time of your daily ablutions, in the privacy of your bathroom, do this: Smile like a pageant queen or photo-op political candidate for the duration of your shower. Ear-to-ear. Giant, goofy, smile. Shampoo gets in your mouth, get it out and resume smiling. There is true science about the fake-it-til-you-make-it practice of being able to convince our brains we are happy by engaging the specific muscle set required to smile. Boatloads of happiness theory tell us this works, but here's all that really matters: It gives your face practice before you get in front of others, and predisposes you to smiling more as the day wears on.

You'll probably laugh at yourself--even better. Of course you look a little ridiculous, but ridiculousness without being self-conscious, is liberating. Nobody is watching. Most of us, for the morning shower time, are dead in the face, slack-jawed, glassy-eyed, not yet enlivened. What if you warm up your best-foot-forward look before you even get any major mirror time getting ready? It will carry over--I promise.

If you shower with another and aren't yet ready to grin uncontrollably, OK. If your daily shower is at the gym with a dozen others soaping up in the same tiled room, you may also choose to forego the Cheshire Cat routine at that moment...but here's what I've learned. When you do this, for your entire shower (which I know is brief if you're in a drought area), and keep reminding yourself and re-upping your commitment to smile when you notice your neutral morning blah habit, the rest of your day's smiles will come more easily. After all, THAT is a fully renewable resource.

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About The Author

Andrew Mersmann's picture

Andrew is the author of Frommer's global guide to volunteer vacations, "500 Places Where You Can Make a Difference" (Gold Medal Winner from Society of American Travel Writers: Best Guide Book 2010). He spent more than a decade on the editorial team of PASSPORT Magazine. He has volunteered and led teams on service projects around the world, and is honored to be on the boards of directors for the Alisa Ann Ruch Burn Foundation (AARBF.org) and Mentor Artists Playwrights Project (mentorartists.org). Mersmann has been a featured speaker, interview guest, or moderator on several travel talks, from the New York Times Travel Show, Smithsonian Associates, and the 92nd Street Y-TriBeCa to Oprah and Friends, Animal House, and The Focus Group on satellite radio as well as on NY1 television. Past participant at the Clinton Global Initiative and judge for Condé Nast World Changers Conference, he blogs about volunteering and service travel at www.ChangeByDoing.com. As part of the evox television team, he is dedicated to audience engagement, so if you're not engaged, he needs to be thumped on the head (gently)...or at least told (nicely). Twitter: /ChangeByDoing

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