Our faces provide a window to our feelings and give us the ability to express our innermost thoughts with just a raise of an eyebrow, or a tug at the corner of our mouths.
Our facial expressions help us build relationships, and there is nothing that creates an instant connection like when you catch someone’s eye and realise that they are thinking the exact same (possibly slightly irreverent) thing as you. However, much as I would never want to lose my ability to use facial expressions, I am also aware that I have an extremely over-expressive face…every little inner thought that runs through my mind is written across my face, as plain as day. This isn’t only annoying because it makes me a lousy poker player, but more importantly, because it means that I am making hundreds of unnecessary facial expressions each day, that, over time, are gradually wearing rather unwelcome grooves in my face.
Raising your eyebrows should be reserved for expressing feelings of surprise, delight and shock, but instead, I find it is more of a surprise to find my brows relaxed- I catch a reflection of myself walking past a shop window on what should be a chilled afternoon of shopping, and I’m so infuriated to find that I am walking around with brows ever so slightly raised and tense, most probably down to my habit of having conversations and imagining scenarios in my head, (you know the ones; where you only think of a killer comeback an hour too late!) and I am so deep in thought that result is playing out on my face as I walk solo down the street, looking just a little depraved.
Another of my worst habits is that I twist my mouth about a lot when I’m thinking, cartoon style, there may as well be a thought-bubble coming out of my head! Totally unnecessary but a difficult habit to break, and one I had previously only been conscious of if I catch a glance of myself in the mirror.
These ‘bad habits’ are unwittingly and needlessly aging my face, but the first step to kicking these habits into touch is being aware that you are doing them. Since I started practising facial yoga, I have become so much more in tune with what my face is doing, I regularly ‘check in’ with my face and make sure it is as relaxed as possible throughout the day (you will regularly find me doing the Smooth The Brow exercise when watching TV or in quiet moments!). There are so many exercises designed to relax the muscles and help you let go of all the tension you are holding onto in your face (check out The Lion exercise for example), and facial yoga is also brilliant at helping you train your muscles to move less when you are using your face.
I can’t in all honesty tell you that I have mastered complete control over what my face gets up to during the day, but I am most definitely a work in progress, and if all else fails, I can fall back on the facial toning exercises to help undo some of the damage!