A smile and laughter are the expressions of a positive attitude about life. With the challenges of advancing years it takes strength to meet the tests. That awareness is not a gift; it needs to be earned with quiet gratitude. Wake up each day and smile when you look in the mirror and say that you like yourself. Connect with yourself, and you’re off to a good start.

“Smile is free therapy.”
– Douglas Horton 

 “Good morning and how are you?” was the smiling greeting of a silver-haired gentleman as we were pumping gas at Costco. It was 10 a.m. We had a friendly chat about a positive outlook. The smile connected us and set positive feelings in motion.

“We shall never know all the good that a simple smile can do.” 
– Mother Theresa

From the gas station, I went to pick up a prescription. The check-out clerk is a tiny young woman. The expression in her face is static. She is efficient and serious about her work. With a compliment and a smile from me, her face lights up and her eyes sparkle. It makes her happy that her work is appreciated and that she is obviously respected, so important for many people. This simple gesture can be repeated over and over, as a smile costs nothing but brings happiness to both the receiver and the giver.

“Let us always meet each other with a smile, for the smile is the beginning of love.”
– Mother Theresa

Living in many countries and even more cities with little native language skills, very little money, no family and friends sharpens the survival instincts beyond the circumstances. People are the turning point when one reaches out with a smile and the desire to connect and to give before receiving. Always the smile is the key and bridge over the language barrier.

“A warm smile is the universal language of kindness.”
– William Arthur Ward 

At the end of each day, one should contemplate the interactions of that day and the effects of a smile on each person with whom a connection was made. And, for a little free therapy, smile in the mirror at yourself as you end the day! As Andy Rooney used to say, “If you smile when no one is around, you really mean it.”

Leo Buscaglia expressed it beautifully: “Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.”

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