The Face

It was noon on Wednesday, right smack in the middle of the week, right in between here and there when I boarded the train towards Kent. My compartment was full, mainly middle aged women wearing tweed and reading books.  But there was a man sitting across from me who would occasionally stare at the passengers faces then start scribbling in a little black notebook he awkwardly held on his lap. At Canterbury many people got off the train and when we started off again, I found myself alone in the compartment with the scribbler who now focused his stares on me before scribbling away. Well I’m a woman and a direct descendent of Pandora, the one with the Box.  So I looked him straight in the eye and said: Sir, just what in the world are you writing about and what does it have to do with me?  The man seemed quite startled by my question but then took a deep breath and started to explain.

Let me introduce myself, he began. My name is Charles Darwin and I’m a naturalist researching the relationship between facial expressions and emotions. I laughed to myself and thought, Well, I must be a naturalist, too, because I’m always reading faces (especially Hugh’s) to see what people are thinking.

But then he proceeded to explain how the face is full of involuntary muscles, muscles that move without our conscious control. In other words, our face speaks without thinking. Intrigued, I asked Darwin if certain emotions made involuntary muscles move in a certain way, what would happen if one would purposely move an involuntary muscle (as actors do all the time)? Would one automatically feel the emotion that went with it? I mean, if I smile, will I automatically be happy? If I frown, will I automatically be unhappy? Ha, it didn’t take an expert in involuntary muscles to know that I’d put Darwin on the spot. He was stumbling around with words when we arrived in the station and, with great relief, Darwin tipped his hat and said good-bye.

Fascinated by these mimetic muscles, I decided to experiment with learning to suppress bad emotions simply by controlling my facial expressions. Because if your face follows your emotions, why can’t you make your emotions follow your face?

The facial expressions most often used reflect happiness, sadness, fear, disgust, anger, and surprise. And here are the muscles moved:

When you smile, one of the main muscles you use is the zygomaticus muscle which pulls the corners of the mouth upward and outward.

Sadness stresses the brows and thus moves the corrugator muscles as well as the procerus…

Fear moves th platysm, a muscles that goes from th neck to the mandibola.

Disgust makes you sneer and move the levator labii nose muscles.

Anger make you glare activating the orbicularis oculi muscles

When we reach a certain age, our face is like a map showing the paths our emotions have travelled the most. To mellow out the signs of time and negative feelings, we can do facial exercises. The exercises will increase blood and oxygen flow back into the skin and reduce muscle tension.

Start off by relaxing the face with massaging the temples, the eyeball, and the eyebrows. Place your index finger in the space between the brows and, in a clockwise direction, gently rotate your finger. Massage. This point sometimes known as the Yingtang corresponds to the third eye position.  This exercise can activate the brain and ease tension.  For 30 seconds.

Being grumpy makes the mouth droop so stick your tongue out and move it left to right and back for several count to uplift your expression.

Thinking too much? To smooth forehead, use your fingertips to massage in a circular motion.

For sagging cheeks massage and gently chop cheeks with both hands for about 2 minutes. Loss of collagen makes us droop.

For a drooping chin, lay on bed, head hanging over edge and do chin ups by lifting and lowering head. Repeat 5 times.

For a double chin, tilt your head back, chin tilted up. Push lover jaw out, lower lip over upper lip. Hold. Repeat 5 times.


(from Cool Breeze, aka The Age of Reconfiguration ©)

About Art for Housewives

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7 Responses to The Face

  1. Yvonne says:

    That was a fun and educational post, with your usual delightful illustrations. Thank you!

  2. Liliana K. says:

    This was great, Cynthia. Bravo!

  3. Sarden says:

    Thank you for your lovely illustrated stories! ❤️ love receiving them in my 📬

  4. What lovely energy you give!

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