Thank you for telling me about World Smile Day and for sharing your tip about thinking of things you are grateful for while brushing your teeth. I’m off to the dentist this week, so it’s not only made me feel happier but will keep me in their good books, too!
I don’t know if it’s because the weather starts to get wintery in October, but it seems to be a month that’s full of special days to help us motivate ourselves. The next one for your diary fits right in with our aim here of suggesting small steps to making a difference – Make a Difference Day.
Different ways to brighten someone’s day
It started in the US about 20 years ago and the idea is to encourage everyone to do something good for someone because small actions add up to big ones. It falls on the last Saturday of October (this year it’s the 27th). You can volunteer or help with a community project; near me, a litter collection is taking place and a Neighbours’ Lunch has been organised to help bring people together and tackle loneliness. If you’re looking for something simpler to do, you could improve someone’s day by giving them flowers or baking a cake.
Of course, I can’t write a post called What a difference a day makes without thinking about the song of the same name, so here it is sung by Tony Bennett – with a glimpse of Kermit the frog to make it even better – enjoy!
The smiley face was created by Harvey Ball back in 1963, in Worcester, Massachusetts.
He designed it as part of a goodwill campaign during the merger of two insurance companies.
But 1999 he was concerned that the use of the smiley face had become too commercialized, so he had the idea to use it as the symbol of a day to celebrate happiness.
The goal of World Smile Day is for everyone to do one act of kindness that makes one person smile. And thus the world will become a happier place.
From kindness to gratitude
I was reading about something else recently that is proven to make the world a happier place – over a delicious cappuccino, as it happened – and that is the act of gratitude.
This white paper on the Science of Gratitude, published last May by UC Berkeley, cites many research studies, one of them showing that people who wrote down three things that went well over the course of one week, and identified the causes of those good things, reported increased happiness a whole six months after the intervention!
So on this World Smile Day, perhaps it’s worth us not only engaging in an act of kindness but also beginning the practice of deliberate gratitude. And to help make it a habit, how about thinking of three things for which we are grateful each morning, during the very activity that enhances a smile – brushing our teeth!
Of course the Smurfs may or may not be one of them….