“With a smile on one’s face, a man doubles his capabilities” – an old-Japanese proverb”

Smile- appears on our faces when accompanied by positive emotions. Expresses sympathy. When the plans do not go our way, we have a feeling that nothing optimistic will happen anymore, suddenly a stranger bestows a smile on us – we reciprocate it. We begin to be filled with a pleasant, warm feeling that eases the anger or sadness associated with setbacks. Are there benefits to smiling? Is it an innate trait? What is its place in the culture of different countries-we are divided by so much, but the smile always remains the same-sincere and heartfelt.

Table of Contents:

10 differences in smile culture

A smile, on the one hand, belongs to the non-verbal communication sphere, and on the other hand to the sphere of expression-as it is meant to be an expression of joy and possibly other emotions. There are different smile cultures around the world-when we compare those with completely different traditions, we may come across more or less subtle differences, concerning, for example:

  1. situations in which smiling is considered advisable or inadvisable
  1. frequency of smiling in public and private situations
  1. a form of smile, for example, a wide smile or a half smile
  1. preferred smile types for example ironic sympathetic
  1. Smile links to social roles such as gender status or age
  1. Degree from the perceived relationship of smiles to emotions
  1. Using a smile to mask negative emotions
  1. positive evaluation of a smiling person
  1. the links between smiles and social harmony
  1. Smile links to local health theories and perceptions

Darwin’s research

Many people wonder whether smiling is an innate or learned trait. One of the people who undertook research on this topic was Charles Darwin. He decided to begin his deliberations by observing his children. The scientist concluded that smiling is an innate trait-as support for his position he presented the fact that his two children, began smiling at about the same age, as newborns unaware of the reality around them.

“Joy and smiles are like a window and a door through which infinite goodness can enter a person’s life” – Christian Morgenstern

Smile in Japan

Lafcadio Hearn is a journalist and the author of two novels. He was the first to author an analysis of the Japanese smile. He came to Japan in 1889. The country of the cherry blossom enchanted and fascinated him. His observations and cultural analyses were devoid of the ethnocentrism typical of other travelers. Hearn married a samurai’s daughter shortly thereafter – from then on he began signing himself Yakumo Koizumi.

Enchantment with a smile

The journalist claimed that in foreigners, the initial infatuation with Japanese smiles quite quickly gives way to suspicion when they see smiles in completely unusual situations. For example, when a Japanese feels pain, shame or disappointment. Sometimes a smile makes foreigners furious – because they read it as insolence or disrespect.

The invaluable power of a smile
Photo: Smile Day

Glimpses of unfamiliar Japan

Glimpses of unfamiliar Japan is a book written by L. Hearn, in which he tells the story of a Western merchant who did business in Japan. He hired an old Samurai to learn the language. One day a Samurai took him out of the equation-the Japanese, instead of accepting it with a stone face or humility and walking away, began smiling and bowing. The smile disappeared from his face only when the merchant decided to hit him. That same evening, Samurai committed seppuku.

He left a letter of explanation. The fact that he once pawned his sword at a merchant prevented him from using it-so the only honorable solution was suicide. This is an example of a huge cultural misunderstanding. The Samurai’s smile was not a sign of disregard, but of respect. It signified an admission of wrongdoing and a request for forgiveness, while at the same time it was a declaration that he felt no grudge against his employer.

Polish post-communist society

There is a perception among many that Poles do not smile. Is this true? When we leave the country, we very often have the impression that abroad people treat each other in a more cordial as well as friendly manner. What is the reason for this? Well, according to researchers who deal with emotions and social phenomena, this is the result of many factors. First of all, the data collected today-according to them, as a post-communist society, we have an ingrained melancholy, mood changes and lack of openness to the other person are taken into account. However, it is worth remembering that for us, a smile does not cost anything, and for a person who is going through a difficult time, it can be a hope to improve the situation – so it is worth having a positive attitude towards others.

The secret of the Mona Lisa’s smile

The smile of the woman in Leonardo da Vinci’s painting is still a mystery today. Researchers are still wondering what’s behind the Mona Lisa’s beautiful, gentle smile. There are indeed many theories-one assumes that the woman is in love, another that she is expecting a child, and another that she was flirting with the painter. Whatever the reason for the smile, it is the unusually captured feminine subtlety that makes the portrait so fascinating as well as mesmerizing. Perhaps, it is in the mystery that lies its beauty?

Awarded for good heart

Order of Smile, is a great international initiative. People decorated with it are rewarded for their merits in activities for children. Among them, there are many Poles-it gives us hope for a better future, and the warmth they give paints smiles on the faces of the youngest. The order ceremony is held at schools, youth centers, libraries or other cultural centers – the nominee has one task. It is to drink lemon juice without showing sourness. Then the person nominated to receive the award should smile-then he or she is accepted as one of the winners.

Smile is health

The second of October is celebrated as Smile Day.

What benefits come from smiling? Well, it turns out that smiling can reduce stress hormones, and studies suggest that it improves our health and heart health. Doctors say that this is a wonderful phenomenon that has many positives. Smiling engages as many as 18 facial muscles- laughing out loud, in addition to your face, exercises your abdominal, back and chest muscles- so you can feel like you’re getting a workout- laughter is health!

“A smile is the beauty of the soul” – Lailah Gifty Akita

The power of a smile-the most beautiful charm

Anywhere in the world, a smile is always a unique way to show emotion, or a nice human gesture that can provide an excuse to start a conversation and thus meet a new person or even establish a relationship that will affect our existing lives. We like people who give us a smile. The production of endorphins makes us happier-and that, for many of us, is the priority. A smile is the most beautiful charm we have-it has health benefits and makes us radiant-it’s worth smiling and sharing positive energy with the world!

GentleWoman editors also recommend: Laughter is serious business – laughter yoga


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