When I was younger, I noticed that some people looked angry or sad when their faces were at rest. That is, when they weren’t thinking about anything in particular — or at least they didn’t look like they were thinking about anything. I noticed this when people were walking down the street. Some people looked like upbeat, but more seemed to be frowning than anything. Still others looked vaguely sad… I felt sorry for them.
I decided that I wanted my face to look friendly and, if possible, to look like I was happy as my normal state. I wanted my natural resting face to be a smile. I thought that would make me more approachable. Part of me wished that most people could have happy resting faces. I don’t think I thought I could start a trend or anything, but I knew I wanted to be part of that happy crowd. So I practiced. Whenever I realized I hadn’t been thinking about anything in particular, I tried to freeze my face in the expression it had and check if it was frowning or if my lips were tight or anything like that. I consciously relaxed the muscles in my face until I thought I looked unbothered and perhaps even contented. I find I still search through my facial muscles to be sure that they’re not tensed up and relax them. I’ve done this several times while typing this out tonight.
I don’t know if it worked or not, but I am frequently the one asked for directions or approached in groups. Maybe it’s my unconsciously welcoming and relaxed expression. Maybe more people should have that. Are you frowning now? Have you frowned today? Stop!