The old Charlie Chaplin song Smile tells us to smile through all our grief (Smile, music: Charlie Chaplin, Lyrics: John Turner and Geoffrey Parsons) but I’m not buying it for me. A study at Wayne State University (published in Psychological Science says those who smile can live up to 79 years – the wider the smile the longer the life.
Those of us who are glum can expect to live to 73 years, according to the same study.
Do you know where this study’s researchers got their information? By looking at photos of 230 Major League baseball player on 1952 baseball cards, seeing if they scowl or grin (and how wide the grin) and then checking records to see at what age they died.
I thought these studies were supposed to use the actual people – not pictures and records of them. Maybe the baseball players smiled purposely for the photo. (That was considered in the study, but obviously not held to much importance). Maybe the players were having a good or bad day and smiled or scowled accordingly.
This isn’t enough research for me to change my scowls to smiles. I do occasionally smile but my main facial expression, the last year at least, is a big fat scowl. And it’s not all squinting at the sun or trying to read the print on my computer when my eyes are bummed out for the day. I scowl because of all the misery I have in my life – all the stuff I referred to in my last post (and earlier posts) as coming at me from outside, or as I put it “dealing with others’ shit coming at me”).
As for attitude and perception – I’ve tried the positive route. The beginning of this year I had high hopes 2014 would be much better. Except for some financial improvement, it’s not turning out that way. And the “financial improvement” may all literally go out the window to replace a few new windows so the rain can’t come in and yet another major excavation outside to waterproof the basement wall because of the contractor Nigel Applewaite’s screw-up in 2011. I’m now booking contractors and window companies for estimates, but deep down I don’t think my finances will cover it all – even with some help from my ex-husband. I’m already carrying debt and am trying to pay it down.
Tomorrow the weather is supposed to be frightful – a mix of rain, ice pellets, snow and high winds – from the east and southeast – right where it can get into my basement when we have this concoction. To top it off I have a sore swollen gland – the tale end and/or a branch of the sinusitis I thought went away a couple of weeks ago.
And don’t tell me if I had smiled 24/7 I wouldn’t have this viral infection.
Back to the study. Look at the life ages predicted. Seventy-nine (for the big grinners) and 72.9 (actual) for us scowlers. Not much difference. But more to the point for me. Even at my age, 72.9 is far far away when you have to put up with all the crap coming at you on a daily basis.
It’s not as if I don’t do anything about it. I don’t bury my head in the sand (if Icould find it under the snow and ice). I tackle my problems and try to resolve them and get rid of them for good.
But like a bad penny they won’t go away.
Oh, correction, the penny has gone away – from the Canadian monetary system at least. Maybe PM Stephen Harper had the right idea here.
Unfortunate that all the other bad pennies in life won’t stay away.
See story on this baseball players smile study at http://healthland.time.com/2010/03/25/grinning
More stories can be found by Googling “smiling and longevity study”
Cheers. (or should that be “Scowls”)
Sharon A. Crawford
Only Child Writes