The music was written by Sammy Fain, the lyrics by Irving Kahal and Francis Wheler. The song was published in 1927. Bing Crosby made a fine recording of the song on 19 February, 1957 with Bob Scobey’s Frisco Jazz Band. (WIKIPEDIA)
As a child I first heard this song on the radio. I recall asking my mother why a smile can be an umbrella. She explained, wisely, that life sometimes has challenges and if one smiles it can help overcome many problems. Many references can be found by searching for positive aspects of smiling. One states that a smile makes you more attractive. I tend to be a ‘smiler’ and if I encounter people, smile and get a smile in return I do actually feel a warm symbolic glow inside.
There is some suggestion that a smile can change one’s mood. On a down day a joke or an amusing event can deflect one’s thinking from a negative situation. Recently I was in a long line at the airport and people were scrambling to get going. I said to a lady that they can only pass two at a time at the check in but maybe she can put me in her backpack. She laughed and I could see a more relaxed look. This is hardly Freudian psychology; but, a small breakthrough in the usual tension of travelling.
Internet searches have shown that smiling can make you less stressed, make you seem more successful, make you appear younger and can have physiological effects on blood pressure and heart rate. An internet search will turn up many areas of interest. Of course one should not just blindly accept things because they are “On the Internet”. But, in the course of the next few hours take the smile challenge. If you are out and about smile at people at random. If you go into a store greet the employees with a nice warm sincere smile. If someone bumps into you, apologize and smile. This seems a tad strange as many people just charge on. So it makes for a good test, as it were.
As a reverse test, monitor your reaction when you encounter a rude or an indifferent person. If you enter a shop and the sales person is somewhat emotionless make a mental note of your reaction. It is not an earthshaking event; but, compare how you feel when a person makes you feel welcome and ‘important’ to them. If you are an employer this is an important aspect of good management to ensure that your clients or customers are given a proper and professional experience.
As a dentist in both the military and in private practice I have taken pride at being positive with patients and I have been blessed to have staff and personnel who echo this sentiment.
So smile and even laugh a bit. You will enjoy it, I promise.
Dr Michael Pilon