4 Reasons to Smile More Often
Some good reasons to smile
Everyone has a bad day from time to time. In the middle of such a day, few things can feel as unhelpful as being told just to smile. Yet as much of a cliché – and, frankly, as irritating – as “turn that frown upside down!” might seem, it is actually very good advice. For a number of reasons, finding a way to smile can be very beneficial. What are these reasons?
Smiling and relaxation
A surprising amount of research has been done on the benefits of smiling to the body and mental state. One such study was conducted in Japan in 2010, in which three groups of participants were asked to do a task involving concentration. One group was not required to do anything, another was asked to smile before the task, and a third was asked to smile after the task. The smiling groups reported a better mood after the task was completed. Another study at the University of Kansas in 2012 asked participants to hold chopsticks in the mouths in such a way as to mimic a genuine smile – the so-called Duchenne smile, which can be seen in the eyes – while doing stressful tasks. Their heart rates were lower than a control group with a neutral facial expression. Interestingly, another group in that same study held chopsticks in a way to mimic a polite or standard smile, and their heart rate was also lowered (though not as much as those giving the “Duchenne” smile). In other words, even a polite smile can have measurable positive effects on the body.
Smiling activates stress-reducing neuropeptides throughout the body. It also releases the neurotransmitters dopamine, serotonin, and endorphins, which act to bring about happiness and relieve pain. These can all lower the heart rate and decrease blood pressure.
Smiling and productivity
In 2019, a team from Oxford University’s Business School decided to test scientifically the old maxim about a happy worker being a better and more productive one. Somewhat unsurprisingly, they found that those who reported being happy consistently – and measurably – outperformed those who did not, with productivity increased by up to 13%.
It may be a bit too much to ask to be happy all the time, but a smile can release chemicals in the brain that brings about feelings of happiness. Therefore, finding a way to smile can program the brain into thinking it is happy, and this can have advantages at work.
Smiling increases attractiveness
Although this also seems like it would be self-evident, in 2011 a research team from Scotland decided to test whether smiling influenced the way a group of test subjects rated the attractiveness of photographs of various people. Sure enough, these test subjects consistently rated pictures of persons smiling as more attractive than those who did not.
Moreover, smiling tends to convey a number of things in addition to a good mood. Smiling can indicate relaxation, comfort, approval, certainty, and confidence. All of these are characteristics that are considered attractive.
Smiling is contagious
In 2002, a research team in Sweden ran an experiment in which test subjects were shown pictures of people whose facial expressions indicated various emotions. When subjects were shown a picture of someone smiling, the test subjects were asked to frown. The test subjects actually had difficulty doing this; when they saw a picture of someone smiling, they actually unconsciously found themselves imitating the smile. This is apparently because the cingulate cortex in the brain unconsciously tends to reproduce a smile.
Since smiling puts others at ease, the smile that others will tend to return will accomplish the same thing for the person to whom the smile comes back. And since the act of smiling tends to make the body more relaxed and the mind to feel at ease and pleasant, a smile can potentially brighten the mood of anyone who sees it since they will tend to return the smile.
A healthy smile
It is far easier to smile with healthy teeth. The dentists at Exceptional Dentistry are experts in all matters involving the teeth, whether that be maintaining a beautiful smile or fixing one with some blemishes. With three offices in the greater Louisville area, Exceptional Dentistry is happy to provide dental care to all ages. To make an appointment, call (888) 918-3336.
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