Many of us remember our moms telling us to smile when we were kids. “Smile dear, you’ll feel better!” As it turns out, Mom was right! Recent studies have shown that a simple smile not only improves your mood, it can also boost your immune system, lower your stress level, and maybe even increase your number of years on the planet!
Here’s how it works. When you smile, your brain releases hormones like serotonin and dopamine. These hormones increase our feeling of well-being and reduce our stress levels. In essence, they make us happier. And happy people have stronger immune systems.
But the good news doesn’t stop there. The smile required to unleash all those good hormones doesn’t even have to be a genuine one. As it turns out, your brain doesn’t care whether or not you’re actually in the mood to smile. As long as you do it, your brain still releases the helpful hormones. Studies have also found that smiling – even a fake smile – lowers your heart rate and your blood pressure.
Other research has found that smiling improves your self-confidence and self-esteem. It makes you feel more at ease with your place in the world. A smile can also have an impact on how other people view you. Studies show that people who smile are seen as being more honest, more trustworthy, and more likable than people who don’t.
Have you ever noticed that when you smile at someone, they smile back? Part of that is due to the fact that we simply want to return the kind gesture of another person. But there’s more to it than feeling empathetic. Smiling, as it turns out, is contagious. This is quite true in a literal sense because of what are called mirror neurons. Our mirror neurons encourage us to copy behavior that we see in other people – behavior like smiling, for example.
With all this important information in hand, the only thing you have left to do is … smile! Of course, it’s easier to smile if you feel confident about how your smile looks. If you’re embarrassed or ashamed of your smile, it makes smiling a little bit more of a challenge. Fortunately, modern dental technology provides us with a myriad of ways to improve the appearance of our smiles. Many of these methods are easy and relatively inexpensive. So what are you waiting for? Call your dentist today if you want to improve the appearance of your smile. On the other hand, there’s no time like the present. So, follow Mom’s advice and start smiling!