How much is your smile worth?

A small muscle movement is all it takes to turn up the sides of one’s mouth; however, an honest smile transfers a huge amount of power.

Scientists believe the need to bond with each other comes from our beginning here on earth. A smile creates bonding with an informal “How are you?” Survival was more likely when people combined forces, thus we acquired our smile as a way to communicate friendliness and to join a trusted group for survival.

Today when someone smiles honestly, a glum mood is helped, an apology is accepted, terms are met. Dishonest smiles such as rival grins delivered with contempt are harmful at best to all of us, both the receiver and sender.

People’s facial expressions often direct our gut feelings toward them. There is a natural trust unspoken in people that gives us honest smiles. Studies have shown women smile significantly more than men do, especially in their late teens and as young adults. Some facts from “Lifescript” that you may find interesting:

1. A smile makes you look younger. Take some selfies of yourself and check this out on your own.

2. A smile makes you look more attractive. A smile helps eliminate other possible negative feelings that the mind tends to dwell on.

3. A smile draws people to you. It promotes conversation. For some this could be the highlight of their day.

4. A smile reduces stress. Smiles send a message throughout our bodies that reduces our heart rates.

5. A smile improves your mood. Find a reason to smile every day and spend time with people who make you smile.

When I am out shopping with my wife and pushing the cart, I make it a point to smile at small children to view their response. It appears that some of the very young are slower to react, almost as if they are testing you out as to how long you will pay attention to them. If we pass each other, I notice they look back and continue to watch me. One can almost see their minds churning as to whether they know me or not.

The older children send a smile back quite quickly and move on with their activities in the cart. I am amazed with very young children and how many have learned to smile quickly in return, once you smile at them.

The reality is that your life and the lives of those around you will be greatly improved with your smile. Never give up.

My wife Joan, who is very creative, is my proofreader and after reviewing this column composed the following poem:

The Value of a Smile

A smile is unspoken but speaks from the heart.

It is giving to someone a good wish to impart.

In a world over-burdened, it’s still worth the while.

It could bring others joy; Just remember to smile!

Dean McFarland is a member of the Hancock County Council on Aging. Send comments to dr-editorial@greenfieldreporter.com.