Smiling at someone can turn their whole day around. But have you ever thought about the impact the act of smiling has on YOU?
Smiling is a hidden superpower that can change our lives for the better if we let it!
Did you know that frequent smiling can actually make us healthier? Smiling reduces stress and increases health and mood enhancing hormone levels, such as endorphins. Smiling also helps to lower our blood pressure.
Perhaps even more surprising, smiling can extend our lifespan! A study conducted at Wayne State University in 2010 found that baseball players who smiled in their pictures lived seven years longer on average than those who weren’t smiling in their photos.
While we generally think of smiling as the result of feeling happy, smiling, even when we don’t feel like it, can actually improve our mood and emotional disposition. In other words, pasting a smile on your face, even if you’re faking it, can make you feel happier!
Here’s why: when we cause our facial muscles to form a smile, our brain’s circuitry of emotion and happiness is activated—whether the smile is genuine or not! A study conducted in the UK found that one smile can provide the same level of brain stimulation as up to 2,000 chocolate bars. What’s more, a smile can be as neurologically stimulating to your brain as receiving $25,000!
One of our most primal instincts as human beings is to smile. Part of the joy of being around a newborn child is seeing them smile! Before they start smiling in the waking hours, they smile involuntarily in their sleep. 3-D ultrasounds show that developing babies even smile in the womb. Simply put, we’ve been smiling since before we were born!
And as it turns out, smiling is absolutely contagious! When we see another smile, it’s pretty hard not to smile ourselves. If you or I observe another person’s smile, mirror neurons will fire in our brain, giving us the sensation that we ourselves are smiling. So, smiling not only makes you feel good, but everyone around you as well!
Smiling has the power to get you through the good times and the bad! As your trusted dental professionals, we’re here to help you maintain a healthy, beautiful smile so that it can brighten your life and the lives of others. Remember, when in doubt, smile!
Top image by Flickr user Giorgio Minguzzi used under Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.