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Smiles

Smiles
Back Pain
I am grateful for smiles – although I do get annoyed by people who tell other people to SMILE – it’s just rude and irritating. If they can’t give someone a reason to smile, like a joke or a compliment, etc., they should just mind their own business. Smile if they want to, as a good example, without pushing their agendas on other people when they don’t know why they’re not smiling –

Smiling can be a personal choice –

Gratitude Series – photo #93

Try Smiling
By John Cloud
My personal trainer sometimes gives me an odd piece of advice during workouts: "Relax your face." For a long time, I found this advice confusing. Isn’t physical exertion supposed to be expressed in grimaces? I thought of the face as a pressure-relief valve that helps emit the pain the body is experiencing. But the trainer suggested I think about it the other way around — that controlling the face can help control the mind.

I was skeptical until I read a paper in the January issue of the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, a peer-reviewed publication of the American Psychological Association. That paper led me to other papers, and it turns out the trainer is right: The face isn’t a pressure-relief valve. It is more like a thermostat. When you turn down the setting, the machinery inside has to do less work.

We have known for many years that people all over the world, even those from remote cultures, use the same facial expressions to convey basic emotions like grief or joy. Charles Darwin noted this phenomenon in the 19th century, and Matsumoto’s mentor, a famous psychologist named Paul Ekman who traveled the globe in the 1960s, proved that both isolated tribesmen and urban Westerners identified pictures of facial expressions in the same way. Ekman demonstrated that a frown means unhappiness the world over; wide eyes mean fright or surprise; a wrinkled nose means disgust. But no one has yet found the source of these universal expressions: Do we all learn the expressions through our culture, or are facial configurations genetically coded for everyone?

. . . What the genetic origin of facial expressions suggests is that the way your face looks is strongly related to what you are feeling inside. What I began to wonder was whether the train might run in the opposite direction: Could you change what you’re feeling inside by pulling your face into a different expression? This is what the trainer had suggested: my exercises would be easier if I kept my face passive rather than twisted

The possibility that your expression could affect your mood was first suggested to me by Marsha Linehan, a University of Washington psychologist who treats suicidal patients. She has found that helping patients modulate their facial expressions — relaxing the face when angry, for instance — can help them control their emotions. Ekman and his colleagues provided evidence of this in a Science paper back in 1983. They found that those instructed to produce certain facial movements showed the same physiological responses as those asked to recall a highly emotional experience.

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