A smile is a simple, universal gesture that immediately tells the people around you that you are friendly, approachable, and feeling pretty good about yourself.
We smile when we feel good, but it’s also possible for a smile to make us feel good. We’re not just talking about a general feeling of well-being here, either. We’re talking about an honest physiological reaction that occurs when you let your lips curl up on the ends and show off your beautiful teeth.
It’s just one of the many powers of a simple smile. So, let’s take a closer look at what’s going on so we never underestimate the power of a smile again.
A Healthier Outlook
A smile has a number of psychological and physiological benefits. A lot of studies have been done on this, and it’s been shown that smiling can help you:
- Get healthier – Smilers seem to have lower stress-hormone levels, which can lead to healthier hearts.
- Look younger – In several research tests, participants consistently judged pictures of smiling people to be younger than they actually were.
- Be more approachable – In studies of attraction, people always rank smiling faces as more appealing. A smile tells people your more fun, relaxed, and sincere, and that makes you more approachable.
- Feel better – Smiling releases neuropeptides in your brain that can fight stress. It also releases dopamine and endorphins that can act as a painkiller.
Of course, those are just some of the physical benefits. There’s also been a lot of research into the psychological side of the equation.
- Improve your mood – When you smile, it signals your brain to release certain chemicals that help reduce stress and tension.
- Improve the mood of others – When people see you smile, they’ll be more inclined to smile back.
- Develop a coping mechanism – People who smile often seem to handle stress and sudden life changes more effectively.
- Leave lasting impressions – We are more likely to remember a smiling face than one that’s a little grumpy.
Make Friends and Influence People
We touched on this above, but it’s important to look closer at how a smile can literally affect the people around you. Psychologically speaking, a smile is quite contagious.
There have even been studies that show exactly how much your smile can affect someone else. The experiment went something like this: A number of people were shown pictures of people displaying different emotions. Every time they were shown a picture of a smiling person, the subject was asked to start frowning.
Turns out that this is quite the challenge. The subjects would naturally smile when they saw pictures of smiling people. It was just natural to imitate the happy person in front of them. It took a concerted effort to stop smiling and start frowning.
Smile, Even When You Don’t Feel Happy
There were some other studies that showed how smiling can literally change your emotional state. Image that: change your mood just by changing your facial expression?
According to this research, smiling is a cyclical process that feeds off itself. Even if you’re faking a smile, the muscles you use around your lips, eyes, and nose, actually signal your brain that it’s time to start feeling better.
Then, once your brain releases more of those great endorphins, you start to actually feel better. So even if you’re not feeling happy at this very moment, try smiling for a while. See if that changes things.
Let’s Create Great Smiles
Despite the documented power of a smile, a lot of people feel like they need to keep theirs hidden away. They may feel self-conscious about misaligned, discolored, or missing teeth.
At Hazzouri Dental, we offer a wide range of cosmetic dental services that can help you get the smile you’ve always wanted – one that you’ll be quick to share with others.