Smiling feels good – there’s no doubt about it. Once you get the giggles, you know you’re in for a good day. The sky could come falling down, but as long as you have a big grin on your face, you’re happy.
Smiling, though, isn’t just a way you express yourself – it is vital for a content and productive life. People who smile more tend to get what they want, not least happiness itself.
The science of why we smile is more interesting than many people realize. Historically, people believed that smiling was something you did because you felt happy. Researchers are now concluding that it is also something that can make you feel happy, whether you are or not.
That sounds kind of weird, doesn’t it?
Typically, we think of smiling as something that we do in response to how we feel. We get a good feeling, and then we smile.
Researchers, though, think that our intuition might have got the cart before the horse – or at least, that we don’t understand the whole process. Now credentialed academics believe that the very act of smiling causes us to feel good, regardless of our prior mood.
When you think about it, this breakthrough could have massive ramifications on your life. Instead of feeling powerless when you have a low mood, you can simply practice smiling and instantly feel better.
The research goes further. It turns out that the more you smile, the more your brain makes happy, positive connections. The movement of specific muscles around the face is responsible for giving you your cheesy grin, feedback to neurons, creating positive thoughts. The more you activate these pathways, the stronger they become, and the more likely they are to fire in the future. Happy connections, therefore, breed more happy connections.
Smiling more often can change your life forever. It forges new structures in your brain and raises endorphin levels. The more you practice it, the more positive you become. And that can have all kinds of benefits for your life.
Faking your smile might sound like a strange idea at the start. Forcing your cheeks into a position you associate with happiness when you don’t feel like it isn’t natural. Bizarrely, though, it works. You can literally hijack your brain circuits and reprogram them to feel better.
As you keep practicing, it becomes easier and easier. Eventually, you produce genuine smiles, backed up by positive emotion, because you feel inherently better. Smiling seems to give your brain the biochemical breathing space it needs to see that things really aren’t that bad.
The Positive Effects Of Smiling On Your Life
Smiling more can also have positive knock-on effects on your life.
It Makes You More Attractive
Being attractive isn’t just about having beautiful skin and great hair – it also relates to your facial expressions. People rate those who smile more as looking happier and healthier – both markers of physical beauty. Smiling, therefore, could be just what you need to do if you want to land a top job or succeed in the dating world.
However, having decayed or darkened teeth may prevent you from wanting to smile often. If this is something that you are struggling with, be sure to drop by South Barrington Dental Care clinic for treatment to enhance your smile.
Smiling Makes Your Healthier
Smiling has other potent effects too. Researchers now think that smiling can help your immune system to work better. Smiling, they believe, makes you feel more relaxed, improving your immune system’s operation. The brain releases neurotransmitters that enhance the functioning of the immune system and help it fight dangerous pathogens.
Smiling Could Lower Your Blood Pressure
High blood pressure is one of the most dangerous conditions in the world and responsible for more mortality than practically any other factor. Reducing it, therefore, is a priority for public health experts around the globe.
Smiling more could be the key. Data suggest that when people smile, it helps them relax, which, in turn, reduces the pressure in their arteries.
Skeptical? Test it out for yourself. Use a blood pressure kit to take your readings before you smile and then after and see if there is a difference. Usually, there is.
Smiling Might Make You Look Younger
Once we get past a certain age, most of us want to look younger and will try all sorts of potions and pills to make it happen. It turns out, though, that one of the best ways to feel youthful long-term is smiling.
Some beauty experts worry that smiling will lead to lines around the eyes and cheeks. The theory is that smiling creases the skin more than not, so you wind up with wrinkles.
The reality, however, is that your skin’s condition depends more on diet, genetics, and sun exposure than facial expressions. Smile lines appear despite smiling, not because of it.
Furthermore, smiling may induce biological changes that help to keep us young at heart. Research indicates that it causes the release of painkillers, such as serotonin, which is a natural mood enhancer.
Smiling Makes You Appear More Successful
Looking grim all the time probably isn’t the best strategy if you want to progress at work. Research suggests that people who smile more appear more confident and are more likely to be promoted.
Smiling could also be a boost for people who want to get headhunted. A scout is much more likely to spot you in a crowd if you’re beaming from ear to ear.
Clients are also likely to place more trust in you if you smile. Smiling is a sign of confidence and relaxation. People unconsciously pick up on the signal and then become more likely to want to hire you for additional services – whatever it is that you offer.
How To Smile More Often
So how do you smile more often? What do you need to do to make it happen?
Create A Smiling Routine
Everyone should have a smiling routine – something that they do every day to improve their mood. Many people trying to get into this habit make a point of smiling first in the morning while they make their bed. It immediately releases a bunch of positive hormones and gets them in the mood for the day ahead.
You can also incorporate your smiling routine into your weeknight activities, such as watching Netflix. Practice using the muscles around your face and see whether it makes a difference in how you feel.
If you go to work, you can practice smiling at your colleagues – when it isn’t awkward! Your positivity will rub off on them, and everyone will feel better about being at the office.
Sort Your Teeth
Some people get into the habit of not smiling because they’re worried about what others will think of their teeth. Eventually, the lack of smiling leads to low mood, via the mechanism described above.
The good news, though, is that modern dentistry is a miracle worker. There is practically no problem that it cannot fix. It can sort out black teeth, brown teeth, yellow teeth, teeth that stick out, missing teeth – you name it. You can even get a full, new smile if you have no teeth in your gums whatsoever.
Just talk to your dentist about your options. They will tell you what you need to do and how you can proceed. If your problems are mild, you may only require a quick trip to the hygienists, instantly boosting how you feel.
Set Smile Reminders On Your Phone
Some people who take smiling very seriously like to set smile reminders on their phones. Remembering to smile while you’re neck-deep in work can be difficult, so having that extra cue can help considerably.
You can set yourself reminders to smile every hour or so. It doesn’t matter whether you’re at your desk or cooking at home – smiling has the same effect on mood wherever you happen to be.
Practice Thinking Happy Things
Many of us get into the dark habit of spending the majority of our time thinking about the problems we have in life. Conversely, we rarely use our energy to consider all of the positive aspects of our existence.
We can’t control the world around us, but we do have a lot of agency over our thoughts. And because of this, we have significant control over how we feel too.
Where possible, focus on the thoughts that make you feel happy. You don’t have to ignore all the bad things in your life. But be mindful of how much time you dedicate to them. It is okay to give yourself a break sometimes and just be silly. Life isn’t as serious an affair as many of us imagine.
In conclusion, smiling is one of the most powerful tools that you have to improve your mood and lift your spirits. Feeling glum is optional, according to science. And the mere act of activating specific facial muscles appears to help. If you’re not feeling so great, give it a go. What do you have to lose? Smiling more often could be the ticket you need to get the life you want, whether it is a promotion at work or a relationship with that special someone. That’s worth celebrating, isn’t it?