What if I tell you that there is something that can make your life better; something that will also positively affect the life of people who come in contact with you? It is something each one of us is fully capable of doing but many of us do not do it as often as we should. It does not cost anything; one does not require money, effort or time to use it but it always produces a positive effect and 99 times of 100 is reciprocated. Yes, a smile…said to be a curve that sets everything straight! A smile is a universal expression of goodwill. A smile is returned with a smile most of the time and this makes the connection cordial and amiable.
Have you ever noticed that we, as a nation, smile very less? In fact if you smile at a stranger he tends to feel suspicious and glares at you. And if it’s a young lady she may cast aspersions on your intentions and lash out at you. But if circumstances and cultures allow, a smile will always be returned. A smile is happiness you’ll find right under your nose!If you have travelled abroad to the developed world you will have noticed that people there smile a lot. I have travelled quite a bit in England, spending my time in Oxford, Wales, Kent and Bath. One thing struck me very forcefully. Whenever you approach anyone, you are greeted with a big smile. Even strangers on the street will pleasantly smile at you as they pass you by. Secondly most people are looking forward to something. There is hope in the twinkle of their eyes as they plan a vacation or talk about what they are going to do in the future. Hope gives you something to smile about. Smiles and hope both go hand in hand.
Now, I know smiling in England or Europe may come more easily than it does in Pakistan, but that is exactly why we need to smile more here. We must, as a nation, learn to take it easy and smile more.There are 200 points on a human face which help to create facial expressions. A smile is the only thing which uses all these points. Smiling keeps these points alive, exercises the face and keeps us looking younger. A person, who looks young, feels young and so remains hopeful as hope is a characteristic of the young. Smiling secretes endorphins and serotonin which have a calming effect and makes us more effective and active. Not smiling makes these 200 points go dormant, eventually changing ones facial expression to a look of permanent despondency and anger, first making us look old and tired and then making us feel the same way.
We use different actions, gestures and facial expressions to express our feelings and sentiments. If we are angry we frown, shout or yell depending on the level of our anger. We laugh when happy and cry when sad or in pain. William James, a well known psychiatrist claims that the same can be reversed and can also happen the other way round. In other words sentiments can be generated through gestures. So if one is sad and he starts smiling, he may start feeling happy and if someone is happy and he starts acting as if he is sad, melancholy may take over.We may not be able to alleviate all the suffering we see around us but the least we can do is smile. When we smile our body is sending the rest of us a message that “Life is Good!” Let’s try and smile our troubles away!