No Matter Your Age, Don’t Forget the Power of a Smile

by Sally Dowling

It’s funny the things you start to realise, as you get older.

I have been told I am a smiler, complete with a one sided dimple. Over the years, a sunny smile has gotten me through some difficult times and challenging situations; and yet I am only just beginning to appreciate the power of a genuine smile.

We Are Born Smiling

I guess it all starts as a new-born. That first windy grin, perceived by parents to be a smile, gets an overwhelming reaction and the precious little one soon learns this could be the way forward in life.

Toddlers, with their cheeky chuckles, are hard to resist and fare much better than their temper tantrum contemporaries.

But, often, the teenage years see all traces of smiles replaced by sneers and scowls as moody juveniles realise what may lie ahead in life. Hopefully this will pass and, when hormones settle down, a sunnier disposition will emerge.

Smiling Helps You in Every Part of Your Life

I certainly found my working life was eased with a smile on my face. Co-workers responded to my smiley greeting, and to my amazement smiled back, it really can be contagious!

For 3 years, I was a Doctors receptionist, probably one of the most hated jobs, certainly here in the UK. The patients perceive receptionists as a dragon that lurks behind a desk. They think we have the sole objective of preventing anyone from seeing the doctor.

Those years were probably the hardest I have ever experienced, trying to keep not only the patients, but also the doctors and other admin staff happy. For a while, it seemed an impossible task.

But, with a smile, I managed to get through some very tricky situations. It is hard to be angry with someone who smiles sincerely – and that’s an important word, sincerely. An insincere smile will soon be dismissed.

I have also worked in a customer service role in the travel industry where I was taught to “smile as you dial,” when talking on the phone. It sounds crass, but, it does help. If you smile, your voice takes on a lighter tone and, in my case, it certainly alleviated some tricky situations.

But there are days when smiling is just a step too far and the words of the famous song “Smile, though your heart is aching” come to mind with such poignancy.

Always Remember the Power of a Smile to Change Your Life

I have no words of comfort to offer for the dark days. All I can say is that, looking back, time does lessen the pain. By releasing endorphins, research has shown that smiling can reduce stress levels and anxiety, as well as make you feel a whole lot better. So, maybe it does help.

In conclusion, my advice to the younger generation – smile – and the world smiles with you. And, if you’re already in your 60s and haven’t yet acquired the habit of smiling – there’s no time like the present!

Do you smile a lot? Do you find that smiling helps you to get through difficult situations or maintain better relationships? Please join the conversation.

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