Thursday, March 12, 2015

Default Face

No decision, is a decision. It just feels better because no one else has made it for you, and you also have an excuse if things don't work out your way. The vast majority of our decisions are made for us unless we take an active choice to do something. Life will deal us cards. I wrote about this in 'Having Power' and I am a strong believer that people have far more power in liberal democracies than we realise. We need to stop looking to central powers to sort things out and just get on with it for ourselves and for each other. Stop asking for permission for things you are already allowed to do.

One more fun aspect of 'No decision' that was pointed out to me recently was our 'default face'. A friend of mine had been warned not to make her default face a bitch face. Nice. When you are just sitting there and your mind starts to wander, what does your face do? Is there a slight smile or a slight scowl?

In the same way as giving people the benefit of the doubt can lead to happier choices, your default face probably gives some indication of whether you are giving yourself the same leeway. There are some famous studies showing how smiling makes you happier. Simply holding a pencil in your mouth made those looking at cartoons find them funnier. A psychologist friend told me how he once helped train someone to walk. The patient had been 'a walking apology'. By getting him to stand up a little straighter and pushing his shoulders back, his body gave his mind the signal that things were ok.


All things makes sense to me. Whenever I am not in the best of spaces, my first check point is whether or not I am exercising. Exercise tells the body it is required. The body then tells the mind it is required. Your body language, including your default face, shapes who you are.

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