Christine Webber

Last week, the biggest TV audience since 2016 tuned in to watch the Wimbledon Men’s 

As we know now, history was made when 20-year-old Carlos Alcaraz came through to win the nail-biting five-set match.

The crowd went wild, and there was masses of subsequent press and social media coverage of his amazing talent, drive and athleticism. 

But interestingly, there was nearly as much comment about his smile and evident enjoyment. 

To be honest, I had no idea who he was in the early days of the tournament, but I immediately found myself drawn to him and wanting him to win. Clearly, I’m not alone.

He seems to have given us all an injection of pure happiness.    

Mats Wilander, the broadcaster and former world number one player, was particularly taken with the young champion’s demeanour. He said: “You can see he’s having a great time because he’s smiling. That is so new. Not even Roger Federer did that. Rafa certainly not and Novak once in a while but not in the same way”.

So, since smiling is making headlines, I thought I’d make it the subject of this column.   

An article on the business network LinkedIn claims: “Smiles are the most important of communication techniques”. And goes on to say: “If non-verbal communication was a martial art, the smile would be a dropkick”. 

That’s a terrific way of putting it. Smiling has a lot going for it. So much so that when it’s absent, we notice.   

Back in my Anglia TV days, I interviewed an eminent woman journalist who had written a book on improving the body. She was a good advert for her methods and looked supremely fit and toned.

But what I noticed about her during our chat was that she never smiled. And it occurred to me that, as a consequence, for all her physical perfection, she was not attractive.  

A few days later, I was chatting to another health writer who’d also met the author and reviewed her book. He said to me: “My wife would be the first to admit that her thighs and bottom are a bit lumpy and dimply, and she’s got some stretch marks because she’s given birth to our two children, but I can tell you that she has the most gorgeous smile which turns me on in a way that a perfect body, topped by an unsmiling face, never could”. 

I’ve never forgotten that. 

In fact, I think a warm smile should accompany everything we do, particularly when we meet people for the first time whether that’s at a party, in a shop, at an evening class or when encountering a new neighbour.


Because a smile can make someone else’s day and, on the plus side for us, it also encourages other folk to like and help us. 

Smiling at someone and receiving a gracious smile in return is one of life’s real joys.

Plenty of fantastic friendships and romances have started that way. But think too about the sweetness of a child’s grin or sudden burst of loud laughter. That comes instinctively to most kids, but sadly, so often as adults, we unlearn this natural skill. 

So, do we smile enough? I don’t think many of us do. Perhaps we simply become more serious as we grow older. And sometimes the knocks we suffer in life mean we lose the knack of wearing a smile.

However, we should think about this and try to alter our behaviour because many neuroscientists believe that smiling actually cheers us up and acts like a non-pharma antidepressant.

Furthermore, some researchers tell us that even giving a fake smile can have the same effect. Personally, I’ve never tested that theory as it seems easier and more reliable to bestow authentic smiles on others rather than pretend ones. 

Alas, we’re certainly not all natural smilers like the delightful Mr Alcaraz, but we can work at making it a habit to smile more. 

Try this.

Next time you’re alone in your bathroom and staring into a mirror, think of something nice, or exciting or fun and give yourself a really expansive, beaming smile.

See if it lifts your spirits. Hopefully it will, at least, feel OK. If you’re lucky it may feel considerably better than that. Then, I suggest you resolve to do this several times a day, every day, making sure each time that the smile reaches your eyes, and makes them light up and sparkle. 

Quite apart from the good it may do you, this practice should make it easier for you to smile more regularly and genuinely at other people.

I’d like to think so; and that in this way, we could brighten the mood of our own tiny portion of the globe, and help turn it into a friendlier, more respectful and joyous place.