“Smiling is infectious. 

You can catch it like the flu.

Someone smiled at me today,

And I started smiling too.”  (Author unknown)

My favorite writer is Unknown, known too as Anonymous. I like Unknown’s work for its concise, lyrical quality, and the variety of topics and genre – limericks, rhymes and poesy that would have made catchy samplers back in the 19th century. I can relate to Anonymous, perhaps because that’s how I feel a lot of the time … ignored, forgotten, insignificant, passing through life unnoticed. But then Unknown shows up, online or in one of those churchy tracts at the dentist’s office, even obscurer places like a graffiti-ed bus bench… to point out that everyone can make a difference often in the least noticeable ways.

One of my favorite pop standards is Smile, written by Charlie Chaplin 90-some years ago in the throes of the Great Depression. I especially like Michael Jackson’s rendition. Check out YouTube and there’s a vignette of the sequin-gloved one singing behind a grainy film of Charlie Chaplin’s Little Tramp, urging his sorrowful girlfriend to “Smile though your heart is aching. Smile even though it’s breaking. When there are clouds in the sky, you’ll get by…”

I achy-break a lot these days, feeling more like a well-punctured pin cushion than a successful real estate executive. I’m sure you do too. As we rush through our hurried days doing nervous tasks, we oft complain that we don’t feel well. There is a simple, quick and effective fix that can make you feel better throughout the day. All you have to do is smile more.

Smiling changes your attitude for the better. Next time you feel downtrodden, start smiling and think positive thoughts (go by a pet shop if you’re challenged by this), and see what happens! Smiling affects our emotions because of a brain-body connection, triggering scientifically measurable activity in the left frontal cortex where happiness is registered. Smiling is an important part of connecting and getting to know someone; people can’t help smiling back at you.

SMILE! It doesn’t hurt to get excited and say out loud, “I feel good. I am taking control.” Make a conscious effort to smile at least six times each day, even if for no reason than to refresh the stale air coursing your lungs. Breathe in and think positive thoughts. The forced smirk quickly turns into a likeable grin, and then a beaming Miss America- like smile! “You’ll find that life is still worthwhile….”

“That is why, no matter how desperate the predicament is, I am always very much in earnest about clutching my cane, straightening my derby hat and fixing my tie, even though I have just landed on my head.”  (Charlie Chaplin,1889-1977)

Written by Marty Rueter