Although it is okay to express your true feelings, there are times when you might need to fake being happy until you are. You would have to try smiling and keep your body relaxed. You can also listen to happy music and find things that make you laugh to help improve your mood. Just remember, when you are pretending to be happy, it is still important to take care of yourself and talk to someone about how you are really feeling.
How to Fake Being Happy
1. Tell Everyone You’re Okay
If someone is asking too much or being judgmental, just tell them you are okay. You don’t have to share everything. You are allowed to keep personal things private. It’s totally fine to pretend everything is fine.
For instance, if your older family members bother you at gatherings, just tell them things are going well, even if they are not.
Even if you are feeling down, act like everything is okay, and don’t go into too much detail.
2. Avoid Discussions that Make You Feel Uneasy
If someone is talking about something that makes you uneasy, switch to a different topic. You can take a short break and then rejoin the conversation.
Gently steer the discussion towards a different subject without making it seem sudden. Licensed marriage and family therapist Kiaundra Jackson¹ offers three tactics:
- using an external distraction;
- bringing someone else into the conversation; and
- making small changes.
If they ask how you are feeling and you are not ready to share, change the topic by saying something like, “I’m so glad the sun is shining today.” However, if they ask about your spouse and you don’t want to talk about problems, switch subjects and say, “We’re good. Have I mentioned my son’s karate competition?”
3. Keep Your Responses Short
Don’t share too many details or long stories. The goal is to say the least and maybe even leave the talk. This can help end the conversation or switch to a different subject.
Let’s say someone asks about your romantic life and you don’t want to discuss it. Just say, “Doing well, thanks for asking.”
If you can’t continue to fake being happy, it is okay to finish the conversation. Wait for a quiet moment and then say something like, “I enjoyed our chat” or “It was nice catching up,” and then say goodbye and leave.
4. Smile to Show Happiness
Your body language can speak volumes about whether you are fake being happy or sad. So, try smiling, even if it feels a bit forced. From eye behavior to the direction in which a person points his or her feet, body language reveals what a person is really thinking.²
Over time, it might become real. To smile well, use your eyes too, not just your mouth. Practice in the mirror.
Whether you feel happy or not, smiling can really make your mood better. If you want to feel better when you’re down, just smile as much as you can.
5. Look at People’s Eyes
If you avoid eye contact, they might think something is wrong. Looking into their eyes shows you are interested and engaged. So, when you talk, try to look at their eyes. Not doing that might seem strange or like you’re hiding something.
When you look at someone’s eyes, try to smile and seem interested, excited, and happy.
6. Show that You’re Open Through Your Body Position
Your body can show if you’re feeling down, so it is important to seem open to look happy. If you’re sitting or standing, do not slouch or look down. Keep your head up, stand or sit tall, and pull your shoulders back.
Show you are confident in how you act, sit, stand, and walk. If you seem small, others might think something’s up.
Also, don’t cross your arms. When you do that, it can seem like you’re not open or you’re keeping a secret. To look happy, just let your arms hang by your sides.
If you are not sure where to put your hands, hold something like a coffee cup or a water bottle.
7. Try Things That Make You Laugh
Even if you are not feeling great, give yourself a good laugh. Watch something funny or read jokes.
Remember a time when you laughed a lot, like from a joke or a happy memory. Just like smiling, laughing can make you feel better.
8. Listen to Happy Music
Music can change how you feel. It can activate the release of endorphins, which creates a general feeling of well-being.³
If you want to seem or feel happier, listen to music that is lively and positive. Forget sad songs and pick something upbeat. Even if you’re just pretending, you might actually start feeling more upbeat.
Listen to songs with happy and hopeful words and songs that usually make you feel nice. Like “Happy” by Pharrell Williams or “Lovely Day” by Bill Withers.
9. Do Stuff You Like
If being happy seems hard, do things that used to make you happy. Even if they don’t feel fun right away, keep at it and see how you feel. You might find your happiness again and have a good time.
For instance, if you used to enjoy going for walks, try doing that again. If cooking made you happy, choose something to cook for dinner tonight.
10. Share Your Feelings with Someone You Trust
Even if you are faking around others, find one person you can honestly talk to. It could be a close friend, family member, or even a counselor.
Instead of faking happiness, let out your sadness or frustration to someone who cares.
Keeping your emotions inside can make you feel sadder and might affect your health in the future.
11. Find a Way to Show How You Feel
You might not be able to do this at school or around others, but it’s important to acknowledge and express your emotions. Don’t keep them locked away and continue fake being happy—it won’t make you feel any better.
Take a moment to recognize what you’re feeling inside. Then, find a way to let those feelings out, even if it’s not directly to others.
You can write in a journal, create song lyrics, listen to music, dance, paint, or draw. Whatever you choose, it should help you sort out your feelings and show them in a special way.
12. Consider Talking to a Therapist
If you’re feeling depressed, it is reasonable to talk to a therapist. If you’re pretending to be happy to hide your sadness or you don’t want to bring others down, it could mean you need help for depression.
Look out for signs of depression and discuss them with a therapist. They can assist you in handling your feelings, avoiding future bouts of depression, and giving you a safe space to express yourself.
To find a therapist, you can ask your insurance company or a nearby mental health clinic. You could also ask a family member or friend for a suggestion.
Read also: How to Fake Mental Illness for Disability