Subscribe for 33¢ / day

Would you like to live longer? If so, I can tell you how.

It has nothing to do with jogging, eating better, taking a miracle pill or drinking less, or even getting more sleep. But if you do this, it’ll help your immune system to function better and prevent the flu, colds and other diseases.

Plus, it’ll release endorphins, natural pain killers and serotonin, and together those things will make you feel better. In fact, it’ll change your mood for the better, prevent you from looking worn down and overwhelmed, reduce stress, help you to be in a better position to take action and even make you appear to look younger.

So, what is it you need to do? You need to smile.

Because, each time you smile, you throw a little feel-good party in your brain. You see, smiling activates neural messaging that benefit health and happiness.

It reminds me of a story I once heard about Mary, an unhappy woman who was sitting at a bus stop. Next to her sat Barry, a homeless guy with a big smile on his face.

“What are you smiling for?” Mary said to him.

“It’s what I do,” Barry said. “I sell smiles for a living.”

“Really,” Mary said, “I’m not interested.”

“Here,” Barry said, “have one for free.”

“No, thank you,” Mary said.

“Oh, I’m sorry,” Barry said. “I can’t take it back. You have to give it to someone.”

“What?” Mary asked.

“The smile,” he said, “you have to give it away or sell it, which should be easy to do because it’s obvious that yours hasn’t been used very much anyway.”

“What do you mean by that?” Mary asked.

“You don’t smile very often, do you?” Barry said.

“Maybe not,” Mary said. “So what if I don’t?”

“You shouldn’t waste your smile,” Barry said, “because there are plenty of people who could use one.”

“Well,” Mary said, “they can have mine.”

“They can have what?” Barry asked.

“They can have my smile,” Mary said.

“But I don’t see one,” Barry said.

“Well,” Mary said, “I thought you just gave me one.”

“I tried,” Barry said, “but it didn’t stick. In fact, I think it bounced right off.”

“Fine,” Mary said, “What’s there to smile about anyway?”

“There are a lot of things to smile about,” Barry said. “It’s a beautiful day outside; buses are running on time and look at that flower over there. Now that would make anybody smile.”

“Leave me alone,” Mary said and then paused.

“So what’s the going rate on smiles these days?” she asked after a little bit.

“Oh, they’re very expensive,” Barry said. “You probably couldn’t afford one.

“Try me,” Mary said.

“It’ll cost you one smile,” Barry said. “That’s how much they cost. The price for a smile is exactly one smile. That’s the going rate.”

She thinks about it.

“Alright,” she said and smiled. “I’ll take one.”

“It was a pleasure doing business with you,” Barry said and left. Dawn, a frazzled, busy businesswoman, sat down next to Mary.

“What’s with the smile?” Dawn asked.

“Well,” Mary said, “I sell them for a living.”


Kevin Holten is the executive producer of "Special Cowboy Moments" on RFD-TV.