So many bad things are happening around the world, and it makes one wonder if there is anything to smile about. However, numerous research have found that smiling can offer tons of benefits to your mental well-being as well as your physiological health. Smiling does not have to be an unconscious response to a pleasant or joyful situation. It can be a voluntary action and a powerful decision to stand straight, keep your head up, and smile.
Find out what smiling can do for you and everyone around you.
Smiling Can Boost Your Confidence
People do not smile when they feel insecure or shy, especially in a social setting. However, they should. Smiling can boost a person’s confidence almost immediately.
Previous studies have proven that the brain can be tricked. One way to do it is by acting an “as if” scenario.
For example, when you are in a party where you know no one, you feel alone and intimidated. But, instead of retreating to a corner for the rest of the night, you smile as if you are enjoying yourself. You smile as if you are open to meeting new friends. Pretty soon, the pretense will be a reality. You will be introducing yourself to strangers and sharing stories about yourself. You will truly be happy in the situation.
For some, however, smiling is the problem. An existing oral problem can rob a person of the confidence to smile. The loss of a tooth because of cavities or gum disease may want to hide the gap in their pearly whites. Using dentures or having dental implants for a more permanent fix will bring the confidence to smile back to the person who has lost a tooth.
Smiling Can Elevate Your Mood
When you are having a bad day, all you need to do is smile. Your mood will be lifted by your own smile.
Smiling is not just a response to the situation, but a signal for your brain that you are happy. Whenever you do it, you activate the release of dopamine, serotonin, and endorphins, which slow down your heart rate, lower your blood pressure, and relax your body.
Serotonin, in particular, has a positive impact on your mood. It serves as a natural antidepressant to regulate emotions. Some of the most prescribed pharmaceutical antidepressants available in the market aim to produce more serotonin, reducing feelings of sadness.
When you are stressed, smile. When you are unhappy, smile. Doing so will make you feel better even if the experience is nerve-wracking or unpleasant to you.
Smiling Improves Immune Function
You have been told that eating a balanced diet and exercising regularly can ensure that your immune system is working efficiently to combat disease-causing pathogens. Add smiling to your everyday health routine, too.
Smiling is an effective remedy against stress. Stress, especially when it becomes chronic, reduces the body’s ability to fight off viral and bacterial infections. It makes you more prone to illnesses.
Smiling Relieves Pain
Smile through the pain because it can provide relief from the aches and discomfort. The same neurotransmitters that regulate your mood release in your brain when you smile can improve physical pain.
Endorphins, in particular, interact with opiate receptors in the brain, reducing the perception of pain. It works similarly to morphine and codeine, but without the side effects, and would not lead to an addiction.
Endorphins are also why laughter works so well in treating pain. When you laugh, you get an endorphin rush that raises the body’s ability to ignore pain. One study found that watching a funny show in a group setting for 15 minutes increased the participants’ pain threshold by as much as 10%.
Smiling Makes Everyone Else Happier
Smiling, like yawning, is contagious.
In one study, Swedish researchers showed participants photos of several emotions: anger, fear, surprise, and joy. When photos of joy were presented, the participants were asked to frown in response. Instead, every person smiled back at photos of people smiling. It implies that the act of smiling is an unconscious act triggered by seeing another person smile.
So, if you smile at someone, they likely will smile back at you. It improves your mood and, at the same time, brightens another person’s day.
Smiling is good for your body and mind. It also positively influences the emotions of the people around you. So, go ahead and be generous with your smile for your health and happiness and to make the world a better place.