Just Smile

We’ve all heard this at some point: “…it takes more muscles to frown than it takes to smile.”

That’s likely untrue for several reasons:

1) The number of individual muscles required to smile outnumber those required to frown.

2) We all smile differently. Take notice of those around you when they smile. Some crack a modest smile most of the time while others cut loose with face-splitting grins on a regular basis.

3) Both smiles and frowns have a range of intensity for each of us, depending on the situation. You win the lottery? Big smile. Find your favorite pair of chicken wing socks? Modest smile. Can’t find those socks? Little bitty frown. Out of beer after mowing the lawn on a hot August day? Look out, world.

Let’s not dwell over the “how many muscles” thing. Let’s zoom in on what is really important: smiling has tangible benefits. I came across and article on the web that listed some of them: Improved mood, lower blood pressure, stress relief, better relationships, stronger immune system function, pain relief and finally, longer life (firing squads not included in the last benefit).

Smiling is good for you (and though it won’t help you when you’re on the wrong end of a firing squad, it will certainly give the folks with the rifles the willies.) There is what I consider a larger benefit to smiles: the damned things are contagious.

I make it my mission to get a smile out of someone every day. Usually this is easy. Sometimes it is a work in progress. There was one fellow I worked on for months before I finally got him to crack one. When I see him now, his smile greets me instead of the other way around. Because smiles are contagious, he very likely has made someone else smile, who made others smile, and on and on it goes.

Frowns are contagious, too, perhaps more so. It is why they are to be avoided. All those frowners out there are undoing all the good work of we smilers. Fortunately, frowners are often not deeply motivated, so smilers can defeat them through sheer numbers and the fact that frowners, with enough effort, can become smilers.

You mission is a simple one: Make yourself healthier and happier and the world a better place by shamelessly infecting everyone around you with smiles. Are you up for it?

Be good to each other…


James O'Meara

James is a bilateral cochlear implant recipient/advocate and a hopeless chicken wing addict. He is also a prostate cancer survivor and warrior. He passionately believes we can all make a positive difference. His shoe size is 10 1/2.

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