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Old 7th August 2018, 17:28
evolve evolve is offline
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Manchester
Posts: 44
Default Smiling

So I have a mix of social anxiety and OCD and have had an obsession over smiling for years and years now and I just can't seem to overcome it.

The obsession is that I will overthink when and where to smile when talking to people, what my mouth is doing, and possibly end up smiling too little or too much and being judged badly as a result. My brain came up with a solution to this years ago. I began to associate the letter combination AR with this obsession (like the sound you make in the dentist when holding your mouth open) and that if I avoided looking at those letters, I would be ok. And when I avoid looking directly at those two letters in combination, I feel like I don't have a problem. I feel almost confident at times and consider myself pretty well-liked.

As you can imagine, trying to do this every day is tiring and soul destroying so I always end up trying to drop this compulsion and look at the letters. And soon after I feel like I'm on a downward spiral of misery. I obsess over it. Every single time someone talks to me, my brain goes down the same thought path.. "Ok Chris, it's time to smile properly! Don't overthink it! No, you're thinking about it! Should you have smiled there? Yes you should! You haven't smiled for 5 minutes. No, don't smile like that. That's just weird. You're being too serious now! They're feeling uncomfortable! Smile but don't think about it!"

And round and round my thoughts go. I find myself watching a TV show and seeing how the actors smile or don't smile in conversation. I think about how you hold your mouth when someone is telling you something and you want to show you're amused so your mouth is like upturned, but I can't do this if I'm thinking about it! I can't smile if I'm thinking about it! Yet I'll Google what to do in a conversation and it says it's important to smile. My brain just feels like it gets in a massive tangle and I don't know how to approach this problem properly. In the end, I return to my compulsion, feeling more reassured but ultimately trapped and defeated.

Please can someone give me some advice or maybe share if you have a similar issue? That would be so much appreciated.

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Old 8th August 2018, 13:00
Aelwyn Aelwyn is offline
Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: Swindon
Posts: 1,240
Default Re: Smiling

I wonder if you would find more help with this on a forum which is specifically for OCD.

Have you tried any sort of therapy?
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Old 8th August 2018, 14:32
limey123 limey123 is offline
Join Date: Feb 2017
Posts: 382
Default Re: Smiling

I also have trouble smiling when nervous. My jaw locks up and I end up not looking as happy as I am. I am sure I have given the wrong impression countless times because of this.
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Old 9th August 2018, 21:42
Rkp82 Rkp82 is offline
Join Date: Jul 2018
Posts: 2
Default Re: Smiling

Hi. I have pretty much the exact same problem. I was very excited to see I am not the only one. I never really have overcome it but kind of accepted it so it don***8217;t stress me out as much these days. But would still give anything to be able to smile comfortably.
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Old 10th August 2018, 23:36
Kipper Kipper is offline
Join Date: Apr 2017
Location: Leicestershire
Posts: 99


Default Re: Smiling

Yes I have similar issues. The muscles in my face tense up easily and become rigid when in company. Smiling becomes difficult because it's hard to move the muscles! Net result is that the sides of my mouth are pulled down and I appear miserable even if I don't feel it. Just try and accept it as best as you possibly can.
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Old 11th August 2018, 00:25
Mr. Spaceman Mr. Spaceman is offline
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: London
Posts: 4,772
Blog Entries: 1


Default Re: Smiling

Smiling does not come naturally to me at all. I'm very self conscious about having an ugly smile and have tended to repress it over the years. Now if someone smiles at me particularly if it's unexpected I'm like a rabbit in the headlights and I just freeze. I think wether I smile or not I'm going to make a bad impression on people.
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Old 12th August 2018, 00:01
Galatea Galatea is offline
Join Date: May 2017
Posts: 1,422
Default Re: Smiling

Because my face in repose tends to look rather glum, I learned to have my features adjusted to a pleasant expression* all the time - I didn't want "glum" lines to form from over-use.

The upshot is I have a lot of strangers giving me a smile as if they think I'm smiling at them, but that's ok.

My real smile tends to be rather slow-blooming I think, and that's ok too.

* the sort of expression one would have five minutes after hearing a piece of happy news - not pop-eyed with glee, just moderate
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