Here at the London Lingual Orthodontic Clinic we’re always thrilled to see our patients smiling – it’s the reason we do what we do. And at this time of the year smiling seems to come more easily. Here’s why (in our opinion!):
1. Sunshine = smiles. It’s a platitude, but it’s true. The wonderful British climate only sees an average of about 1493 hours of sunshine a year, and the majority of those brighter days happen between May and September. Perhaps therefore, it’s less that a sunny day makes us smile, and more that we smile out of sense of relief that the clouds have finally cleared?
2. Bank holidays! There are three during the summer months, allowing those of us who toil through a traditional working week an extra 24 hours to tackle all those garden chores. We’re also more likely to take a fortnight’s holiday during the summer, enabling us to enjoy a break from the usual routine and recharge our batteries. Definitely something to smile about, even if sometimes the excited pre-planning phase and the reliving of happy holiday memories outweigh the immediate reality of the baggage reclaim / motorway traffic / insect bites.
3. Everything’s greener. (I’m going to forget the occasional hot summers which see parched parkland and dusty fields). The English summer is a riot of colour and greenery, and this sensory profusion has a direct effect on our mood. If this summer you’re stuck in a grey office block or are pounding pavements in the city, you don’t have to wander too far to enjoy a green thought in a green shade (as Andrew Marvell said in his wonderful poem extolling the virtues of English gardens). Go soak in some green, and smile.
4. It gets easier to spend more time outside. Even if it’s rainy and grey, that barbecue will yet be lit, the wedding reception will go on, the maypole dancing will continue. In other words, we have no choice – summer means more time outside and that lifts serotonin levels, making us smile. Gore-tex and all. Plus the days are lighter longer; our northerly latitude means that even a 9-5 weekday has a whole extra 4 hours or so of daytime. More time to do whatever you like, that is, which should make you smile.
5. The colours. It’s a fact that life is more colourful during the summer months. According to the folk at National Smile Month, yellow is the colour which makes people smile the most. Sunshine, sandy beaches, buttercups. Are you smiling yet?
6. Ridiculous music. We’ve yet to see what will be this year’s Cheerleader or In the Summertime, but summer music is fun, fun, fun. Granted, they don’t always hit the high points of culture, but for sheer smile-factor, summer tunes do the job. Remember, there’s always the entire Beach Boys back catalogue.
7. Warmth relaxes. It’s impossible to feel uptight in a sauna – the environment simply won’t physically allow it. And all that warmth and sun on your skin will have a similar effect. As long as you’re careful about sun exposure and avoid getting burnt, getting a little sun on your skin and warmth into your bones feels so good; and yes, it’ll make you smile too.
8. There are more children about. Bear with me here. I promise that the spectacle of a 6 year old repeatedly, committedly and joyfully belly flopping into a pool is guaranteed to put a smile on your face. A 4 year old’s sheer delight as he secures a Mr Whippy (swiftly followed by his outrage when it slops onto the grass) will elicit some twitching of your facial muscles, no doubt. Seeing young people and children at their most happy and free reminds us that not everything in life is about deadlines and strictures; life is made to be lived, and little ones show us that more than anything else.
9. Summery food and drink. Barbecues and ice creams. A ripe peach. Elderflower spritz. Fresh berries. English asparagus, fresh peas, grapes ripening on the vine. A chilled glass of rose. Enough said.
10. Summer clothes. Even if you don’t care two hoots about fashion, summer clothes are the best. People wear brighter colours in the summer which automatically elicits more response, and this makes you and others around you feel happier as a result. (It’s also a great opportunity to channel your inner children’s TV presenter, should you so wish). If you balk at colourful threads, you will necessarily be wearing lighter fabrics, and less of them, during the summer months, so you’ll literally be less weighed down and feel lighter, more light-hearted, as a result. And if you genuinely couldn’t care less, then come summer you have the opportunity to strip down to your swimwear. And that really feels good.
Enjoy your summer, and smile!