Thursday, December 07
08:37 AM

Say Cheese!

30 Sep 2020 By HUBERT VAZ

Do you remember, when was it last that someone asked you to ‘Say cheese’ and you obliged instantly. If it was this morning, at the behest of that deceptive reflection in the mirror, you might be on the path to Nirvana. If not, take a few moments to read on.

Tomorrow (October 2) is World Smile Day, and it might mean nothing at all to you, if you have forgotten to smile or have inherited a legacy of frowns that weigh you down and invert the natural curve of your lips. Observed on the first Friday of October every year, this day is a reminder on the importance of smiling in everyday life.

A smile reflects positivity, optimism, wellbeing and goodwill. It also instantly causes others to smile. And there are many benefits of smiling – it improves one’s mood, lowers blood pressure, relieves stress, betters relationships, boosts the immune system, relieves pain and increases life expectancy.

During the pandemic, many have forgotten to smile, on being burdened by misfortune and mayhem in their lives. But things need not remain grim, if only one changes one’s outlook and learns to smile more. Here’s how a few individuals in the capital evaluate the importance of a smile:

Jane Bickmore Jaffer, MBE

Professional therapeutic counsellor

‘Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy.’ – Thich Nhat Hanh

A smile is a gift that you can give to everyone you meet throughout your day. It costs nothing but it can bring untold benefits to you and your relationships. A warm smile is a universal language of kindness. It’s a positive way to acknowledge and validate a person’s existence. A smile spreads positivity. It’s contagious. Each time you smile at a person, their brain coaxes them to smile back at you, creating a symbiotic relationship that allows both of you to release feel-good chemicals (serotonin) in your brains.

A smile implies approval, that we are all in this together, on the same side. It offers encouragement. Your relationships are, therefore, strengthened and deepened by the positive vibes you give out when you smile. Smiling and laughing can brighten your day, making you feel more confident and attractive.

A smile draws people to you. Physiological changes occur in your body, increasing the chances of you living a healthier life. Research shows that those who consciously or unconsciously smile more, live better and longer lives. Smiling and laughing can lower your blood pressure, elevate your mood, relieve stress and boost your immune system. There are so many benefits to this simple, yet powerful, movement of one’s facial muscles. Let’s all smile!

Abdul Razak Ali Issa

Former Chief Executive, Bank Muscat

It is scientifically proven that a smile is a reflection of our brains feeling happy. Smiling also triggers hormones that act as natural mood enhancers. Relationships between business and smile – it is an incredibly powerful tool when you understand how to use it. It is very important in the context of basic customer service. As the Chinese proverb goes: A man without a smiling face should not open a shop. And, late Nelson Mandela also once said, ‘Remember to smile…’

 Qais Al Khabouri, 

 Customer Experience Officer, Bank Dhofar

Oman is known for its beauty and hospitality, not only by its neighbours but by the world. Smiling makes anything memorable and adds the personal touch to any service provided, whether it concerns dealing with a customer at a fast food chain, internally when dealing with different departments within an organisation, or even welcoming a visitor to the country at the airport. We are a beacon of peace to the world – May God bless His Majesty Haitham bin Tarik and the Sultanate of Oman always. ‘Everyone smiles in the same language – George Carlin’

Dr Deepali Jaju

Senior Specialist, Dept of Clinical Psychology, SQUH

Why should we smile? When do we smile? What does a smile do with the brain, heart, mind, and the body? We wait for a newborn to smile – the first smile of a baby is the greatest happiness for the family. The same is true when an upset beloved person smiles back or a patient gets discharged from a hospital.

When someone makes us smile, why do we feel better? And why do we run away from a person who is always angry, irritable, and throwing tantrums out of frustration? So, there has to be some magic in a smile. I mean, the genuine smile, not the one which we pose for in front of the camera. When we smile genuinely, not only do our lips curve, even our eyes express that happiness. 

Smile and happiness are two sides of the same coin. Researchers have proved that a genuine smile releases hormones of happiness as endorphins, serotonin and dopamine. But, if we need to have benefits of these hormones, we need to smile! 

Look back in your life and ask yourself a simple question- did you catch a cold, or an allergy when you were happy? The physiological functions of hormones of happiness is to maintain immunity. Hence, a smile strengthens immunity.

Hyesha Barrett

Life coach and NLP practitioner 

Say you enter a room full of strangers. Who will you, in all likelihood, set your gaze on and even approach? I can bet, it would most probably be the person who is smiling. A smile instantly sets people at ease, whether it’s someone you just met, an old friend or even someone you’re simply crossing paths with.

A smile is very catching. It takes a second to do, it shows compassion and brings people present and into the moment. Smiling emits positive energy from the person who is smiling and it is passed instantly to those around. Smiling doesn’t need words, it generates a warm feeling that is universal, which everyone can understand.

Smiling in a conversation conveys sympathy and friendliness. The smile needs to be genuine, however, as a forced smile is sometimes worse than not smiling at all. As long as the smile comes from an authentic place then the giver will release endorphins upon smiling and the receiver will feel them too, usually reciprocating the smile back. 

Smiling equates to good vibes which equates to happiness and love. If we all just stopped being so caught up in our heads, our hearts would shine through and we would be more grateful, which in turn would make us smile more.






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