If there was ever a universal language that speaks to people of all nationalities and backgrounds, it would have to be the smile. No matter where you go in the world, a smile can help to open doors, build rapport and make connections – even with complete strangers. Amazingly, smiling not only makes others feel better about you, it can also improve your overall health and wellbeing.
Here are some of the transformative effects of smiling that you probably didn’t know about:
We’ve all been told that eating healthy and regular exercise are important contributors towards our body’s immune system, but how many of us know that smiling can bring about similar benefits? According to psychological studies, when you smile, your body releases ‘feel good’ neurotransmitters – like endorphins and dopamine – that makes you more relaxed, lowers your heart rate and blood pressure.1 When your body feels relaxed and less stressful, it can also improve and strengthen your immune system.2 The simple act of smiling everyday can therefore give your immune system a boost, which in turn, increases your defence against bacteria and viruses that causes colds, flus and other health ailments.2
In line with studies that showed the effects of smiling on our positive emotions, psychological scientists Tara Kraft and Sarah Pressman of the University of Kansas, discovered through a social experiment that smiling during brief periods of stress may help reduce the body's stress response, regardless of the person’s state of emotions at the time.3 The research also suggested that smiling helps to lower heart rates after a person recovers from a stressful activity.3
The practical inference that can be made is this: Although you may be in a foul mood, smiling or simply faking a grin – no matter how awkward that sounds – may actually help you to perceive stress differently and your heart cope better during times of stress. This research is supported by other findings that link the medical benefits of smiling to lower levels of stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline.5
Findings of another study, published in the journal Neuropsychologia, suggested scientific reasons why others might view you favourably – sincere, relaxed and reliable – when you smile.1 According to the report, looking at a smiling face can activate a person’s orbitofrontal cortex, the part of your brain that processes sensory rewards.1
Happy and smiling faces, a research study in Pyschology found, has an impact on the accuracy and bias of age estimates.5 There you have it, smiling not only makes you more appealing to others, but can also help you appear youthful.
Scientists at Wayne State University conducted a research analysing players’ smiles on 1952 baseball cards.6 Interestingly, they found a difference of 7 years in life expectancy between players who grinned versus those who did not smile at all. The Fort Wayne studies attributed the findings to well-documented therapeutic benefits of smiling.5
As can be seen, your smile is one of your most valuable assets to a healthier and more fulfilling life. Clearly, you have a duty not only to use it often, but also to look after it well. Keep smiling!
At Face Value Dental, we offer a range of Dental Treatment Options that are designed to protect and rejuvenate your smile. If you’re interested to find out more, please contact us on (07 3221 0677 or visit our webpage http://www.facevaluedental.com for more information.
1. Riggio, Ronald E. "There's Magic In Your Smile." Psychology Today. June 25, 2012. https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/cutting-edge-leadership/201206/there-s-magic-in-your-smile.
2. "How to Boost Your Immune System." New Health Guide. November 07, 2014. http://www.newhealthguide.org/How-to-Boost-Your-Immune-System.html.
3. "Smiling Reduces Stress And Helps The Heart." Medical News Today. August 01, 2012. http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/248433.php.
4. "Smiling Reduces Stress And Helps The Heart." Medical News Today. August 01, 2012. http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/248433.php.
5. Collins, Danica. "Danica Collins." Underground Health Reporter. July 14, 2014. http://undergroundhealthreporter.com/smiling-extends-your-lifespan/.