The Anti-Frown Workout

Creative Magic on PixabayIt was dark on my morning walk as I forced myself to smile.  There was nothing funny about the dark, but I smiled anyway.

I was exercising; not just my legs, but my smile.

“I am not going to become a grumpy-looking old person,” I told myself. I had seen those faces; the edges of lips turned down in a permanent frown. A look at a few Mitch McConnell photos should scare anyone.  I was resolute; this was not going to happen to me.

I would be an old person with smile lines around my eyes and a mouth that turned up.

That doesn’t come easy. Lips are like any muscle; use it or lose it. I had decided that even if there was nothing funny happening in front of me, I was going to work my smile.  It’s hard. Harder than I expected.

For one thing: it feels weird. At first. Which is why I started my efforts to smile—without any obvious reason—in the dark. No pedestrians to worry about and the drivers wouldn’t see. I could get some chops of skill in place before placing my practice out in public.  Privately work through newbie stumbles.

After a winter of dark, morning, smile-walking, the weather got nice. I was walking in daylight hours, my smile now a comfortable companion. And a funny thing happened: life started serving up all sorts of things that sparked a smile. Like the mom pushing a baby carriage through the crosswalk, her three-year-old in tow pushing her baby doll carriage. My smile came easily; no effort required. A torrent of smile-worthy things started to appear.

The truth is, they were always there. Life is always serving up things to smile about. The hummingbird that flits by; the smell of baking bread; a friend’s hug; the warmth of the sun. It’s just I’m often oblivious to those moments.

Meditation helps me with mindfulness. When I combine that with strong smile muscles, it’s a lot easier to beatifically embrace those moments.

Plus, all that muscle work reduces wrinkles. So if inner peace doesn’t motivate you, maybe outer vanity will. Just get out there and smile. It’ll make the world a better place.

 

Photo source: CreativeMagic on Pixabay


 

11 thoughts on “The Anti-Frown Workout

  1. Actually, smiling creates wrinkles, so no thank you.

    But in all seriousness, I tried that for a while, too, when a few years ago I read that smiling can really make you feel better. And I noticed that it did work for me. Placebo, or not, it was fun at times. But I’m not good at faking, so I’d rather smile because I’m happy and not be happy because I fake smile. Smiling without a reason just feels so foreign to me.

    But your post really got me thinking. I will try and resume the smile workout this weekend.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I call smile wrinkles “crinkles” and imagine happy wrinkles. At the eyes.

      Glad my post got you thinking. I actually haven’t been doing this recently, not intentionally, I just forgot. Then today I saw my reflection in a mirror while listening to Bubba and Mitch McConnell was looking back at me. Eek! I decided it was time to revisit the program.

      And writing about it this morning reminded me that, yes, it initially felt weird to smile without a reason. And I was surprised how, with time, my mind often would imagine happy thoughts while I was smiling, effectively finding “the reason” for smiling. I don’t know if was my body’s attempt to maintain congruity between parts, but it happened with enough frequency that I embraced it.

      I’ll be curious what your weekend smile workout ends up feeling like. Thanks for your comment!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Challenge accepted.
        It’s mainly because an increasing amount of people have asked me: “What’s wrong?”, when nothing was wrong. I don’t look in the mirror to often, so I wouldn’t know. Maybe I secretly am Mitch?

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I’ve no idea if you’re a man or a woman (I think you’ve tried to keep it that way), but either way, being Mitch’s frown doesn’t sound very appealing! I included a link through to one of his (your??) pictures in case folks missed it. It’s sobering, ha-ha.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks for getting me to exercise my smile muscles as I read this! I will try to do it more consciously. I am unfortunately one of those people whose relaxed facial expression is naturally perceived as frowning.

    Liked by 1 person

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