Too Tense to Smile?

[S]miling is…beneficial to the person doing the grinning. Facial expressions do not merely signal what one feels but actually contribute to that feeling. If we smile even when we don’t feel like it, our mood will elevate despite ourselves.

Coke commercial, “Smiling Faces Around the World,” at

Lately I’ve been noticing how often I tense up, hold my breath, and frown—and the lines on my face are reflecting those frowns. No matter that I’m concentrating on driving, or reading, or just thinking—none are good enough reasons to mar my face.

For decades I waited for my hair to turn to the salt-and-pepper my grandpa Rusty had worn, the grandpa I loved so much. Now silver adorns my head, trophies I earned across the space of half a lifetime. I wear them proudly. Here, too, are the crow’s feet I’d waited for. These laugh-lines at the eyes are a welcome sight. But the lines at the corners of my mouth—where did they come from? Where is that smooth, full face of the twenty-year-old woman I feel like? Did marriage change it? Child-rearing? Struggling and trials? What created the harsh-planed landscape of the face I wear now? (Quantum God, Part Two)

What is the alternative? Remembering to breathe deeply, unfurrow the brow, and smile. Simply smile.

Shall we work on creating smile lines on our own and others’ faces this week? Smile and the world smiles with you!

Sending you loving smiles,

Tips from Tom Wolford, Prairie Village, Kansas, at

One thought on “Too Tense to Smile?

  1. Thanks for the stress reduction techniques. They are excellent self-healing methods. I actually tried them with him today as my stress is fairly high lately with all of life’s demands coupled with my stupidity and inattention to safety. I am grateful to be alive and functioning, pooh to vanity! Wear those lines with honor. It took a long time to get them and are somewhat a badge of the tribulations faced in life.

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