Feel-Good Friday: Celebrate World Smile Day and Help Restore Cleft Palates

Screenshot from the Smile Train website. https://www.smiletrain.org

Did you know today was World Smile Day? It is celebrated the first day of October, with the encouragement to do something that makes you smile, and to do something that brings a smile to someone else. The first World Smile Day celebration was held in Worcester, MA in 1999 and has continued each year since. The celebration of the day has expanded to events around the world. Talk about a way to feel good!


There are mental, emotional, and physical benefits to sharing a smile. Here are a few:

Immunity Booster: Smiling helps to calm your muscles and gives you a feeling of relaxation. It also can alleviate anxiety. Both help to improve your immunity.

Mental Booster: A smile releases endorphins and elevates mental exertion. It reduces tension and leads your mind towards a more positive outlook.

Heart Health: Smiling helps to lower one’s heart rate and helps to keep your blood pressure under control.

Automatic Anti-Depressant: Smiling releases serotonin and dopamine in one’s body. These hormones help control your sense of happiness and well-being by reducing stress.

I delight in giving a smile, whether it is my own, or helping someone else to find their smile. In 2017, I taught a donation Yoga class which benefited an organization called Smile Train. They equip local physicians across the globe with the resources to perform cleft lip and cleft palate surgeries within their communities.


According to the Smile Train website, every three minutes a baby is born with a cleft. A cleft occurs when certain body parts and structures do not fuse together during fetal development. Clefts typically involve the lip and/or the roof of the mouth, which is made up of both the hard and soft palate. This deformity causes difficulties in eating, breathing, hearing, and speaking.

Smile Train partners with the in-country medical professionals so that they can provide the surgeries, post-surgical care, and treatments to patients. Because the services are embedded in the community, it allows for a more sustainable model that allows a complete care regimen for the children receiving the surgery: from orthodontia to speech therapy.


I like this. I have many friends who are currently, or have been, missionaries or medical missionaries. I have been a resource person on a few medical mission teams too. The successful ones are those who not only supply help and resources, but empower the leaders within those communities, so that they can, in turn, better their own backyard, and become a provisional point.


As well as teaching the donation class, I gave to the organization. I decided to do the same today, as my way of participating in World Smile Day. The beauty of a smile is that it cost nothing to give it, but reaps tremendous benefits when you receive it. Since the day fell on Friday, maybe make it World Smile Weekend, and do something to brighten your weekend, or be the bright spot in someone else’s weekend.




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