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Use Your Facial Muscles to Change the World

Your facial muscles have great power to improve the lives of the people around you.  -christyfitzwater.com

Today I travel back to my one semester of anatomy and physiology, which is a class I took when I was going to be a nurse. Before I came to the conclusion that I was too ditsy to have people’s lives in my hand.

Wait, did I give you your meds already? I can’t remember.

I can smell the lingering formaldehyde, in the lab where I spent time learning the names of most every muscle in the human body.

So when I read about the Duchenne smile today, I kind of felt lonely for my anatomy days and the 10 years of medical transcription I did as a stay-at-home mom. I know how to spell every body part and some body parts that discreet pastor’s wives don’t talk about on devotional blogs.

Dr. Duchenne de Boulougne (insert middle school giggle about Dr. Lunchmeat) was a French neurologist who did a series of experiments on the electrophysiology of facial muscles. He discovered which facial muscles are used in a fake smile verses an authentic smile.

A fake smile only uses the zygomatic major muscles, in turning up the corners of the lips.

A genuine smile uses the zygomatic major muscles and the orbicularis oculi muscles, which contract around the eyes and eventually cause crow’s feet.

Here is where my knowledge of anatomy intersects with my knowledge of Spanish, as I recently learned the phrase “cara de pocos amigos”. I am in love with this phrase and am forcing its use within our family.

“Cara de pocos amigos” is the phrase used to describe a grumpy facial expression, but literally it means “a face that makes few friends.”

I changed my major to English my sophomore year of college, so I speak with little authority when I say that the “cara de pocos amigos” most likely only employs the zygomatic major muscles and the use of gravity.

Do you know what I miss most about my dad? The contraction of his orbicularis oculi muscles.

What you choose to do with your face can change people's lives.  -christyfitzwater.com

If I could inherit one thing from dad, it would be his crow’s feet.

He regularly served genuine smiles to people, and will you stop to consider the power people have who use both major facial muscle groups?

Or think about the people in your life who will never need to buy eye wrinkle cream because they have a “cara de pocos amigos” about every time you see them.

I will never, ever buy wrinkle cream for my face. Let those eye wrinkles come, because I know if I get some good crow’s feet going, that means I am serving genuine smiles to about everyone I meet, and smiles can, in one second, change how other people feel inside.

A smile can convey the good news of Christ with the use of two muscle groups.

You matter. 

You are loved. 

How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!  (1 John 3:1 NIV)

Trigger zygomatic and orbicularis oculi muscle contractions.

So if Dr. Duchenne of bologna (haha) were to follow you around for a week and use his little electro-measuring thingy on your face, what would it read?

Bring on the laugh lines. That’s what I say.


  1. LOVE THIS, CHRISTY!!! And I love your Dad’s smiley face! Thanks for sharing.

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