Some years ago when I visited the United States, two factors left a dominant impression on my mind. One was their obesity, and the other was the broad smiles with which they welcomed every passer-by particularly in their morning walks.

Americans are one of the most obese nations in the world. The obesity rate in average adult American was estimated at 32.2% for men and 35.5% for women. While obesity rate for Asian adults of 18 years or above was about 10.7%.In America obesity is most likely due to taking too much food ( particularly fast food )and too little exercise. Compared to them the Asians take less of food (not out of their choice, but by the will of the Almighty)and have to do more physical labour to earn their living which is why they are thin and smart and even in certain cases look emaciated.

In my early morning walks, I found that Americans greet every passer-by with broad smiles as if they knew the strangers for a long time. It was very heartening. Sometimes they would even pause for a moment and ask, “How do you do?” Often these early morning greetings and exchange of smiles made my day. It is rightly said that smiles are contagious. When you smile, people around you will smile, too. You’ll spread joy with a good smile. Smiling boosts your immune system because your whole body relaxes when you smile. It’s physically easier to smile than it is to frown because smiling uses fewer muscles. Hence smiling should be taken as the universal sign of happiness. No matter where you go, even if you don’t speak the language, people know what a smile means.

In history, smile has been viewed from many angles. The one which became most famous wasLeonardo da Vinci’s painting of a Florentine lady which became known as Mona Lisa which intrigued the generations for her mysterious smile. Her enigmatic smile has long been the subject of speculation: people also ask: Is her ambiguous expression a smile? The Mona Lisa’s face expression seems both alluring and aloof, which has given the portrait its universal fame.
Michelangelo called it an ironic smile. Other people at various times have described it as sly, sublime, enticing, mysterious, repellent, witty, scornful, all-wise, ice-cold, magnetic and sensual etc. Everyone perceived it according to one’s own whims. Tired of multiple explanations of the smile, a dental expert put out his own theory by saying that, ‘She’s not smiling at all; she’s having trouble with her gums!’


The best social advice is to greet everyone with a smile reflecting your sincerity and good-will. It costs you nothing, but creates a lot of cordial feelings in others. It enriches those who receive it without impoverishing those who give it. It happens for a flash but leaves a memory which sometimes lasts forever.