World Smile Day

Start a happiness epidemic

If the drawing in of the days has got you feeling down, fear not – October 4 is World Smile Day and a chance to remind ourselves that there are always reasons to be cheerful!

The by now iconic yellow smiley face was first doodled in the 1960s by US-based commercial artist Harvey Ball. The image was quickly adopted as a symbol of happiness but Ball became concerned that it was also increasingly being used as a commercial tool. He wanted to preserve the idea that a smile is free, and so he established World Smile Day as a way to encourage people to participate in random acts of kindness without recognition or reward – a hugely admirable goal and one that brings joy to millions of people on World Smile Day and all year round. The Harvey Ball World Smile Foundation now runs the initiative every year in Ball’s memory.

As a dentist, you’re concerned with smiles every day – but ironically, dentists suffer from some of the worst mental health of any other profession. World Smile Day might be all about performing a random act of kindness for others but it’s important to note that simply taking time to connect with other people is good for our own mental health – and making somebody else smile can have a powerful impact on our own mood too. Likewise, it’s about looking out for each other – for our colleagues, patients and staff – and recognising when another person is a little quiet, or withdrawn, or just hasn’t been smiling very much lately.

Last but not least, the physical act of smiling is proven to release happy hormones in the brain regardless of our actual mood, which means that when it comes to happiness, you really can ‘fake it ‘til you make it’ – and it’s catching too! Why not give it a try and see if you can start a happiness epidemic in your practice? Find out more at