Facial expressions, communication, and truth

Time to make some faces. As will become quickly apparent, this exercise is best done alone. Read the follow-up questions BEFORE the exercise and use them to be aware of the emotions you feel when you do the exercise.

Do all the following facial “postures” without a mirror. Hold each one for a few seconds. After you have done this list, then do them all again in front of a mirror.

Stick your tongue all the way out with your lips tightly encircling it with equal pressure around the girth. At the same time lower your eyebrows and stare straight ahead.

Do the above but look to one side. Then look from side to side rapidly WITHOUT moving the tip of your tongue.

Bite your bottom lip so that it is entirely inside your mouth, and at the same time, crinkle your nose and flare your nostrils and raise your eyebrows.

Keeping your lips closed, push your tongue as much as possible up into the space between your upper lip and front teeth, and cross your eyes.

Smile as broadly as possible-way way beyond normal, as much as you can. While doing that, look from side to side rapidly. Then repeat this with your eyebrows lowered.

As much as is possible, open your mouth, open your eyes, and raise your eyebrows.

Do the above face and stick your tongue out and try to touch your chin with it while looking from side to side rapidly.

Puff out your cheeks with air as much as possible, scrunch up your shoulders as if to hide the sides of your neck, and squint your eyes.

Pull your bottom lip out with your hand and place it so that it overlaps your upper lip as much as possible. Let go with your hand. Then, look downwards.

Smile as much as you can without opening your lips. Once “in position”, alternate back and forth with opening and closing the lips so that the smile is maintained throughout the movements.

Purse your lips and push them out as much as possible while looking from side to side.

Hide your lips inside your mouth and look upwards.

Ask yourself,Why does my emotional “set” immediately change with these expressions?

Do I use my expressions like “spice” that I add to my communications or do they arise “by themselves?”

What would be the payoff to becoming more aware of my face movements during communications with others?

How often do I suppress facial expressions when I communicate to withhold my true feelings from others? What is my typical method for doing this?

When no one is in the room, and I am sitting quietly, what is my face saying? Do I communicate with myself like this even though I cannot see the results without a mirror? Are facial expressions a type of “mumbling to myself?”

When I manipulate my face, does it feel more like an object I am moving or that I am “moving me?”

What is the perfect facial expression that expresses the true me? Could I make faces in the mirror and find a “me” expression?

Why did I feel silly sometimes, even though no one saw me doing this? What part of me demands that certain “masks” are not to be worn?

Which expression in this exercise was the one with which I am most familiar or is a similar to a face I have used many times in my life?

If I could always be aware of my face, would that help me know the emotional content of my mind better?

What would happen if I did these faces in front of an authority figure in my life? A boss? A teacher? A religious leader? A psychiatrist? A person I have just met? Would challenging myself like this help me be freer with emotions? Why is a making face in front of others so intimate for me?

What face do I use to tell the truth?

When I look into the mirror and have “just a blank expression,” what do I look like I am “saying?” What would this face be used to mean to others if I gave it to them?

Why don’t I make faces to myself in the mirror “a lot?” Why don’t I need to see my outside’s expression of my inside?