Does Smiling Help?


Doesn’t this picture make you smile?

I am from the Midwest. We in the Midwest are known to be a friendly group. I do smile and say hello to people. I  don’t even think about it. Let me give you two examples.  My husband and I were driving to a baseball game. We were stuck in a line of traffic around the field. At one point, there was a police officer right outside my car window. So I said, “Hi. How are you doing?” The traffic moved and so did we. My husband was amazed that I talked to the cop. He has teased me about it for years. I will admit I outdid that one day last year. I was at a red light. My window was open. A car stopped at  the red light next to me. The car’s  windows were open and there was a guy in the passenger seat. He looked at me. We were like 2 feet apart. I didn’t really think about it. I just said “Hi”. As soon as I did it, I knew it was weird. Really, you don’t just talk to the person in the next car when you don’t know them. It was just an automatic reaction.

So, it was with interest that I read (and I have no idea where) about a girl talking about how she noticed that her boyfriend would smile at people as they walked down the street.  One day she asked him why he did it. He told her that he had read that by acknowledging people that it could save lives. It seems he felt that people who were really depressed and suicidal sometimes just needed someone to acknowledge their existence. He felt that by smiling at strangers that you can make people feel better.


Photo by Margan Zajdowicz

Can this be true? That just smiling at someone could improve their mental state and possibly save them from suicide?  In doing very limited research, it appears to have some merit.  There are stories about how a man who jumped off the Golden Gate Bridge left behind a note that said that if anyone even smiled at him on his way to the bridge that he would not jump. He jumped and died.  John Kevin Hines also jumped but he lived. He now talks to groups about his experience.  He is quoted as saying

 “Yes, a smile would have most definitely helped in my case. If the smile is genuine and caring, and it looks like the person is approachable, that person could have such an impact on a suicidal person at the moment of desperation. They could well save a life.”

Just a Smile and Hello

I will admit that I did not find as much research to indicate that a smile can save one from suicide as how much smiling does for your own mood.  There appears to be overwhelming research to indicate that with smiling that the phase “fake it ‘till you make it” applies. Smiling will improve your mood and reduce stress. The following video is a synopsis of the information. 

So, think about it. Smiling can help you improve your mood and may also help others. Please consider sharing your smile.  You may find there are amazing benefits.

Thanks for reading.

About Carol Early Cooney

I love to read. I love to share my thoughts on books and hope to hear what you think also. Looking to see what books I read beyond those I write about? Check out my Goodreads!
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