When You’re Not Smiling: “Bitchy Resting Face” (A Parody)

When you’re not smiling, the whole world not-smiles with you. Or so the song lyrics might be paraphrased.

The recently popular video below, “Bitchy Resting Face,” was created by writer/comedian Taylor Orci. It’s a parody of commercials that focus on certain medical-type conditions:

Although this is funny to many, it may not be to everyone. Some claim these conditions—both the female and male versions—are real and do present problems.

Someone who’s publicly come out about having BRF is actress Anna Paquin, who claims her husband Stephen Moyer, also an actor, has the opposite syndrome, “happy resting face.” Some other women have also identified with the video and have spoken up and/or written about their naturally occurring not smiling faces.

On the other hand, I’ve yet to see any specific men owning up to having “asshole resting face,” the purported male counterpart to BRF. Maybe I’m just not looking in the right places.

Diane Mapes, TODAY.com, provides a serious report on the BRF phenomenon, noting that Dr. Anthony Youn, a plastic surgeon, sees patients with features that fit the parody’s description of BRF. Maybe they’re born with them, he says, or maybe age contributes. There is a possible fix, though: “expression surgeries,” they’re called. An example is the “grin lift.” Other pertinent facial areas that can be tweaked are “the deep vertical lines between eyebrows” and eyebrows that are “droopy or overly arched.”

We all know that many will not, in fact, go this medical route. There’s at least one other alternative, though—work on your smile.

Smile therapy, of course, is not just for BRF. Clinical social worker Karen Kleiman (“Try Some Smile Therapy,” Psychology Today) cites the research of behavior change expert Mark Stibich. Here are some of the ways smiling helps:

1. Makes Us Attractive to others There is an automatic attraction to people who smile.

2. Changes Mood If you try, even when it’s difficult, to smile when you are not feeling good, there is a change it might improve your affect and change the way you are feeling.

3. Contagious Others will want to be with you. You will be helping others feel good.

4. Relieves Stress Stress does express itself right in our faces. When we smile, it can help us look better, less tired, less worn down.

5. Boosts Immune System Smiling can actually stimulate your immune response by helping you relax.

6. Lowers Blood Pressure When you smile, there is evidence that your blood pressure can decrease.

7. Releases Endorphins  and Serotonin Research has reported that smiling releases endorphins, which are natural pain relievers, along with serotonin, which is also associated with feel good properties.

So, why not smile more?

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