Woman Hasn't Smiled in 40 Years to Avoid Wrinkles, Even When Her Baby Was Born

smilesI'm a skincare freak. I spend an incredibly stupid amount of money on serums and moisturizers, read reviews about magnesium ascorbyl phosphate for fun, and have secretly dreamed about quitting my job to learn how to extract blackheads for a living. But one 50-year-old woman has gone completely overboard in the pursuit of a wrinkle-free existence: she has refused to smile for the last 40 years so that she can avoid getting lines and creases on her face.

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Tess Christian is beautiful. Her olive skin looks nearly identical to the way it did when she was 19. But the way she has achieved her personal fountain of youth is not one I'd recommend: She says she never smiles, and that she didn't even crack a grin when her daughter was born.

Christian hails her method as more effective than expensive creams and more natural than Botox. She swears she has trained herself to control her facial muscles and experts apparently agree that she's on to something—the less we smile, the less the muscles in your face are forced to work, which minimizes lines.

Christian says that just because she isn't walking around town with a "ridiculous" Cheshire grin on her face doesn't mean she isn't happy to be alive. You could argue that she's even happier, perhaps, because her skin is flawless.

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But there are some major holes in her method, in my opinion. The first one is vain and obvious to anyone who has seen Kim Kardashian smiling in a selfie instead of making her usual duck face: most people look even better when they smile. If this woman's goal is to be more beautiful, she's thwarting her own plan by refusing to smile.

But there's more to this. I believe that Christian is happy if that's what she says, but research shows that the simple act of smiling can actually make us happier. Why would you deny yourself the ability to be an even happier person?

I feel for this woman the way I do for women who have eating disorders and are too preoccupied with an obsession to fully enjoy their lives. You can't escape wrinkles and aging for the rest of your life. It's going to happen because we aren't meant to stay static. We're supposed to evolve, spiritually and mentally, learn, and experience an even deeper love for others and ourselves the older we get. Those amazing experiences don't come without the body aging—it's the price you pay, and one that is worth paying.

I'm not saying we shouldn't apply our creams and oils and look the best we can at whatever age we are, but when an obsession with aging diminishes our quality of life like this, it's time to let it go.

What are your thoughts on how this woman is refusing to smile in order to avoid wrinkles? 

 

Image via jessicahtam/Flickr

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