‘You’ll find that life is still worthwhile
If you just smile‘
From ‘Smile’, lyrics by Geoffrey Parsons and John Turner
The music of this famous song was composed by Charlie Chaplin, and featured in his 1936 film Modern Times.
Lyrics were only added in 1954, and ‘Smile’ was originally recorded by Nat King Cole. The message is simple – to keep smiling even in the worst of times and ‘maybe tomorrow you’ll see the sun come shining through for you.’ It’s a wonderful song of hope and staying positive in difficult times which strikes a strong chord right now (excuse pun). We’re suffering so much sadness, anxiety and grief from this terrible Coronavirus, but vaccines are now giving us hope for the future.
Smiling is good for your health
Studies have shown that smiling improves your mood (your brain releasing endorphins and serotonin), reduces stress, boosts your immune system and reduces blood pressure. There is even evidence that smiling can increase longevity.
Research has also shown that forcing a smile has health and mood enhancing benefits, your brain being unable to differentiate between a fake and the genuine article! The quote from 94 year old Vietnamese Buddhist monk and peace activist, Thich Nhat Hanh, says it all.
And it benefits others too
Smiling can also affect others positively. When you smile at someone they often mirror the action and smile back. A connection is made and you both feel better.
As Mother Teresa said, much more eloquently:
Or, if Winnie the Pooh is more to your taste, then:
All Smiles are not equal
There are various types of smile (about 17 types have been identified, many having nothing to do with expressing happiness), and some cultures interpret a smile differently.
The ‘gold standard’ is called the Duchenne smile which is the genuine expression of positive emotion and difficult to fake. A Duchenne smile happens when the eyes are also involved. Or, being technical, when the zygomatic major muscle lifts the corners of your mouth at the same time as the orbicularis oculi muscles contract, (lifting the cheeks and forming wrinkles around the eyes).
But nowadays when we are – or should be! – wearing masks for much of the time, many of us (me included) really miss seeing people’s smiles. We need all the joyful interactions we can get, even at two metres distance.
A minor consolation is that it’s still possible to detect a true smile from the eyes – and face mask emojis have been created that demonstrate it!
(The original smiley face icon was created in 1963 by Harvey Ball. He received $45)!
Maybe this blog has raised a smile and, if so, I’m delighted. But do try to find someone or something that makes you smile each and every day and not just on World Smile Day – 1st October 2021 is a long time to wait! 😊
Stay safe; stay strong; stay smiling.😀