How Your Emotions Can Secretly Age You

Our emotions and expressions are inextricably linked. See if your go-to expressions could be aging you beyond your years.

Posted on | By Doris Day, MD, MA

"You look well rested, have you been on vacation? What a beautiful smile! You look happy, excited, tired, sad…."

When we're told we look good, it's almost always in relation to an emotion, and there are good reasons as to why that's the case. In general, most happy people look and feel younger than those who are chronically stressed, angry or sad. Of course, no one lives in only one emotional space and fortunately many of us are able to balance a range of emotions. However, your "go-to" emotion, as often seen in your "go-to" facial expression can be aging you beyond your years. Understanding what that is can impact not only how you look, but also how you feel.

Studies show that emotions and facial expressions are intimately related and what many of my patients tell me is just "being expressive" could be aging them more than they know. The good news is there is a lot you can do about it, and the best news is that the rejuvenating effects can be nearly instant.

Start with a simple lesson in facial anatomy: Many of the muscles of the face are connected to the skin in order to help make expressions to eat, talk, open and close your eyes, and to express your emotions. Making an expression can sometimes create an emotion as real as if you had the emotion before making the expression. This means that if you do something as simple as change your expression you might be able to affect your emotion. Try it now: Smile. Don't you feel just a little bit happier? Now frown. Don't you feel a little mad or less happy?

Article written by Doris Day, MD, MA
Author: Forget the Facelift