The Psychological Effects of Smiling & Why It’s Good for Your Health!
Many people seeking orthodontic services focus on the physical integrity and alignment of their teeth. However, visiting the orthodontist can have effects that go far beyond your oral health — it can transform your smile. Decades of psychological research suggest that smiles are more powerful than we think; they have even been called the window to your soul. Transforming your smile by visiting your family orthodontic practice can have enormous benefits for your emotional and psychological health.
Psychological Effects of Smiling
Only a fraction of the information we communicate comes through our spoken words. Our facial expressionsconvey a large amount of information. Perhaps no facial expression is more potent at conveying our psychological state than a smile. Consider how smiling can affect you psychologically, as well as how investing in orthodontics can make you a more confident and happy person.
1. Smiling boosts your mood.
The relationship between facial expression and mood is complex. When we feel good, we naturally feel the urge to smile. However, scientific research suggests that the reverse is also true — smiling actually boosts your mood! When you smile, your body sends signals to your brain telling it, “I must be happy right now.” This leads to a cascade of neurochemical events that make you feel happier, which explains why the simple act of smiling is such a mood booster when we’re feeling down.
2. When smiling, you can “fake it ‘til you make it.”
A smile does not need to be completely genuine to boost your mood. In fact, you can “fake it ‘til you make it.” Psychologists discovered this through a simple experiment. They asked one group of people to bite a pencil between their teeth, which automatically draws one’s face into a smile-like expression. Another group was asked to purse their lips around the pencil, simulating a frown. The people simulating a smile reported more positive feelings than the people who were “frowning.” So, next time you feel distressed, put a smile on your face for an instant pick-me-up.
3. Smiling lowers your stress levels.
When the muscles of your face contract to form a smile, your brain receives signals in its reward center. In turn, the brain releases chemicals known as endorphins. These brain chemicals are the same ones that get released during a “runner’s high.” Endorphins lower our stress levels and bring feelings of euphoria.
4. A smile makes you more attractive.
We interpret a lot of information from a smile. Psychologists have found that people who smile are perceived as more personable and easygoing than those who have neutral expressions. Therefore, a smile may make you more physically attractive to others.
5. Smiles project confidence.
The next time you are in a high-pressure situation, remember that you have a secret weapon: your smile. Imagine you are interviewing for a new job. Walking in with a smile on your face shows that you are relaxed, competent, and confident in your skills. A neutral or nervous expression, however, can convey the opposite: you are anxious about your ability to succeed.
6. Smiling is contagious.
Smiles evolved as a way for us to communicate with one another. You may have noticed that when you come across someone with a wide, happy smile, you find yourself involuntarily smiling in return. This is due to a type of brain cell known as mirror neurons. Mirror neurons are active when we perform a specific action as well as when we see other people doing the same action.
Active mirror neurons mean that smiles are actually contagious! As a result, smiling not only makes you feel better, but it also boosts the moods of those around you. This cascade of effects can help you surround yourself with happier, more positive people. If this sounds like the type of positive energy you want to bring into the world, get yourself to the closest orthodontist right away!
7. Smiling boosts creative activity.
When you’re feeling a mental block, see if a smile can help. Psychologists from the University of California, San Francisco have found that happiness (which is triggered by smiling) is associated with creativity and better problem solving.
How Orthodontic Services Can Transform Your Smile
The best way to gain the psychological benefits of smiling is to “just do it!” However, many people feel embarrassed about their crooked or unattractive teeth. Investing in a smile that makes you feel more confident will pay major psychological dividends.
If you feel self-conscious about your smile, you may be closing yourself off from joy. Finding the best orthodontist in your area is easy; just contact Labbe Family Orthodontics! After achieving the smile of your dreams, you will find yourself feeling more confident and happier than ever before. Contact Labbe Family Orthodontics today to learn how we can help you transform your smile — and your life!