Smiling is an advantageous way to make a first impression, but did you know that forcing yourself to smile can instantly boost your mood? Psychologists have found that simulating a genuine smile can immediately lift your spirits, among other benefits.
As human beings, we use facial expressions to communicate emotion. Everyone knows that people smile when he or she’s happy; however, scientists have begun to discover precisely how the physical act of smiling can improve your mood.
When you curl the muscles in your face, exposing your teeth, your brain releases chemicals called endorphins. Endorphins communicate with the opiate receptors in the brain, like morphine and codeine, to reduce how we perceive pain.
When your body senses signs of stress or physical trauma, it naturally releases endorphins. However, you can achieve the same result by merely forcing yourself to smile—even if you don’t feel like it.
A study from researchers at the University of Kansas asked participants to complete challenging tasks while either smiling or not. They found that participants from the smiling group had decreased heart rates and stress levels compared to the non-smiling group. In the same study, a group was asked to hold chopsticks in their mouths, simulating the shape of a smile. This third group saw the same results as the smiling group—decreased stress levels and heart rates.
Among the benefits noted above, there are also long-term advantages associated with smiling. For example, it’s possible to boost your immune system by smiling. This happens because of smilings ability to reduce tension and stress. Evidently, lowering stress levels softens your individual cells, which can help protect you from diseases.
Until recently, the saying “smiling is contagious” was more of a cliche, but a paper published in the Journal of Trends in Cognitive Sciences confirms it. When a person smiles at someone, the person receiving the expression will often mimic it.
If you’re trying to make a good first impression or improve relationships, then smiling sends signals of friendliness and comfort. Furthermore, if you regularly smile, people might also find you more attractive. The next time you’re socializing with friends or co-workers, try smiling and watch how people respond.
At Birmingham Family Dentistry, we specialize in giving people the smile of their dreams. Contact our office at 248-642-3800 to schedule your free consultation with Dr. Semaan today. She will discuss your treatment options and will answer any questions you have about our restorative and cosmetic services, such as porcelain crowns and more.