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Dr. Tomaino's Blog

The Power of a Smile

November 16th, 2008
Is'nt it true-----an unexpected and genuine smile from a stranger who may randomly pass you during your day instantaneously elevates your mood and sense of wellness. At least that's the impact I feel.

I was in Miami for a meeting this weekend and some of the "academic" discussions dealt with how we might unknowingly respond to our patients with chronic pain. Empathic behavior, hopefulness and an optimistic strategy for "accomodation"--that is " how to live with it" are critical ingredients to helping. Smiling adds value too.

I was struck during my visit by the energy in Miami, and a sense of optimism. For example, my cab driver from the airport to my hotel--a US citizen for 45 years since leaving Cuba, spoke compellingly of how advantaged he feels because of the liberties and opportunity in this Country. He shared with me that he almost died of bacterial endocarditis last year and was hospitalized for 2 months. And yet, at 69, this was his 1st week back driving since his illness. He exclaimed: "you can't stop living!"

Indeed. And, how much more spirited and enjoyable our days might be when mixed with authentic kindness--even if delivered merely by a smile from a passer by. The "smile face" seems to have universal meaning, regardless of culture and language. A Smile is a universal "gesture" with a timeless and arguably inarticulabe meaning.

Smiling not only reflects one's own contentment, but may truly, albeit transiently, enhance the recipient's sense of wellness. What a special and free gift to share at will.




Maryann Mazzaferro

The power of a smile is truly awesome!! Life in general, and working with students in a high school a friendly smile in the hallways works wonders. With the pressures society places on our youth and adults, just a simple smile or gesture of kindness can go a long way. I agree with your philosophy 100 per cent Dr. Tomaino. And you practice it for sure!! Just the other day John and I remarked "he always has a smile on his face."!! It works wonders and is a great way to comfort and heal.

November 18th, 2008 @ 3:13 pm

thank you for sharing your experience with a cab driver who happened to be from another country. it has given me another spin on the idea of a smile.

January 16th, 2009 @ 11:44 am

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