If we’re to believe the stats, adults smile no more than 15 times a day.
I was shocked – such a drastic reduction! From 400 times to only 15 over 30 years or so? What takes our smile away? Our job? Our kids? Family? But wait, aren’t all of these things supposed to bring us happiness?
Country that never smiles?
Even worse – when I look around Riga, most people probably don’t smile this much ALL YEAR. Walking around the city, it looks as if everyone is on their way to a funeral. Do you remember those old cartoons? Where some guy always had a dark cloud following him around? Well, welcome to Latvia. You’ll be glowered at, glared at, scowled at – the one thing you will never be, is smiled at.
So, what is it that makes people like this? Is it the weather? Well, we have perfect snowy winters and hot and sunny summers – what’s not to like? Is it our surroundings? Unlikely, as Latvia was recently voted the the most beautiful country in the world! Is it the economy that makes our faces so unhappy? According to a Gallup Poll, the poorer the country, the happier the people. So we Latvians don’t have any excuse for only smiling a couple of times a year. C’mon, wise up people!
Smile to look younger
To encourage more smiles on women’s faces, look at the difference between some young girls (18-20 years old) having lunch in a cafe compared to the moms at the next table. Aside from the obvious – strollers and kids – we have serious discussions rather than fun. Girls simply have fun! Oh, and as a little side-note, whatever you do, don’t smile or laugh in bars in Riga – everybody will think you’re either drunk or crazy. The fact that you might just be happy won’t cross people’s minds…
My best-ever tip for ladies going out – smile a lot! It improves your appearance far more than any anti-aging cream or chic clothes. It’s subconscious: young people smile and laugh more – much more – than older people. Do you want to look older? I doubt it.
My recipe consists of two parts:
- – A 3-mile brisk walk a day (which I usually cover for 40 minutes). This releases feel-good endorphins;
- – Realizing that nothing in life went exactly the way I thought it would when I was 15 years old…
- and having the grace and good sense to laugh about that!
Because for me, being happy is not some wild fantasy we create but rather making the effort to enjoy every moment of our real daily lives. So come on ladies, screw the haters and flash those pearly whites!