A Smile is Just a Smile – Or is it?
In the dental world, we know that a smile is one of the first things people notice when meeting someone new. We are, after all, in the business of giving people their best smile and making the world brighter, one smile at a time.
“A smile is a facial expression formed primarily by flexing the muscles at the sides of the mouth…It can communicate feelings such as love, happiness, pride, contempt, and embarrassment” (Source). But really, it is so much more!
So why should you smile? What can you really gain from flexing these muscles?
Various Benefits of Smiling
Studies have shown some amazing benefits of smiling. From your health to influencing another person, these benefits include:
- Reduces stress. In this stress filled world, where stress is a risk factor for heart disease, we are seeing an alarming increase in heart attacks for both men and women. Smiling can reduce stress and keep you from feeling overwhelmed – both which help you maintain a healthier heart.
- Boosts your immunity to disease and illness. By letting go of tension, a smile can make your immune system more capable of fighting colds, flu, infections and illness.
- Improves your mood. Smiling increases feel-good endorphins by sending a signal to the brain, making your brain “happy”; this in turn is transmitted by neuronal signals to your facial muscles and makes them contract. When they contract, a signal is returned to the brain. The happy feed-back reward cycle is complete and your mood is on the up-swing. It’s been suggested that the happiness level a smile can bring to your brain is equivalent to that of having 2,000 bars of chocolate.
“Researchers have proven that intentionally exercising your zygomaticus major muscle and orbicularis oculi muscle can actually make us feel better. How? It is like holding a pencil with your teeth!”
- – Ding Li, FameLab finalist
- Enhances your appearance. For the most part, we are drawn to people who smile. A smile is contagious. Specifically in a recent study, “83% said smiling was important or very important in their romantic relationships.” A smile gives the illusion of a more toned, fresh and vibrant appearance – making you look younger. Use your “anti-gravity” smile to advantage and treat yourself to a mini-facelift!
- Lowers blood pressure. This relates to reducing stress. Lower stress means a parallel decrease in hypertension. Researchers at the University of Kansas found that smiling helped put a person more at ease, thus decreasing heart rate and blood pressure.
- Increases production of serotonin and natural pain-relievers. Along with the increase in the production of endorphins, smiling can help your body produce natural painkillers that aid in the fight against pain; serotonin helps regulate your mood.
- Makes you seem more trustworthy and successful. Penn State University did a recent study that found people who smiled were perceived as having more credibility and were thought to be more approachable. Both have an impact on the way you do business or interact with coworkers. Self-confidence and poise increase with a smile; both lend an air of success to an individual.
- Smiling increases your productivity. Because of the endorphins that are released when you smile, you experience increase (stimulated) brain activity and enjoy a more efficient work rate. Happy people produce more.
As one of the most powerful motivational speakers and trainers of our time, Dale Carnegie (author of How to Win Friends and Influence People) once said about a smile “It costs nothing, but creates much… It enriches those who receive, without taking away from those who give. It cannot be bought, begged, borrowed, or stole, for it is something that is no earthly good to anybody till it is given away…”
Knowing a smile can give you far more than it will take away, why not get out there and share a smile today!
Oh, one more thing…what is the most famous and most used emoticon found in email, texting and on Facebook®? The Smiley Face emoticon of course! ?
Johnson, Richard. The Power of Smiling: Using Positive Psychology for Optimal Health & Healing (The Spiritual Strengths Healing Plan) (pp. 19-20). AGES. Kindle Edition.
Thompson, Steve; Swanson, Dan. Smiling Success: Your Key for Success in Business, Love and Life (Kindle Locations 1407-1415). Kindle Edition.