How Smiling Affects Your Brain
A smile may seem like such a simple thing that we tend to overlook its importance to our physical and mental well-being. Don’t discount your smile as just a superficial feature that doesn’t really matter in the longer scheme of things. The physical act of smiling can affect everything from your mood to your health to how others perceive you. The relationship in particular between your smile and your brain is particularly complex and scientists are continuing to study the connections every day. From what we know so far, smiling affects your brain in so many ways, proving that a beautiful smile is an important weapon to have in your arsenal.
Here are some ways that smiling affects your brain:
Your Emotional Center
Your brain controls the regulation of emotions and scientists have found that smiling, even a fake smile, can release dopamine, endorphins and serotonin into your body. This influx of positive emotions will help you relieve stress and lower your blood pressure. While we can’t control everything thing that happens in our lives, we can control how we react to it. By facing each day with a smile on your face, you are saying that you are going to stay positive and remain engaged in the good things in life. The good news is that the more you smile, the better you will able to break any patterns of negativity that might be more natural to your brain. So even if you naturally are a more pessimistic or sad person, making smiling a priority can change all that. Smiling more can train your brain to be more positive just like mental exercises can train your brain to be sharper and more focused. Turns out we have more control over our brains than you might have thought.
Your Pain Center
Did you know that the physical act of smiling can also reduce pain? The endorphins that are released when you smile can also affect how you experience pain. You have probably heard the expression, “Smile through the pain” before. Now you know where it comes from. If you become injured, don’t get hooked on a bunch of pharmaceuticals that can become addictive. Try to block out the pain with the positive feelings that rush through your body when you smile.
The Veil of Perception
Think about how much better life at home and at work will be when you actively choose to be happier and smile more. Because the brain also influences perception, a smile can change how a person perceives you. Their brain will signal positive thoughts to them when you smile at them and this will make them more receptive to having a good relationship with you. Think about the impact a smile can have in tense boardroom negotiations or on a first date type of situation. With a simple smile you will appear more attractive and more competent to those around you. Who knew that flashing your pearly whites could be such a powerful tool. Next up, that promotion!
A smile on your face can also affect how you perceive other people’s emotions as well. Recent research out of London found that by smiling we can affect how our brain processes other people’s expressions. The researchers asked the participants of their study to either wear a smile or a neutral expression when looking at photos of other people’s expressions. They used EEG (electroencephalography) to measure any changes in brain activity and what they found confirms the expression, “When you smile, the whole world smiles back.” If you are smiling when looking at a picture of someone with a neutral expression on their face, your brain will most likely interpret it as a smiling face instead of a neutral one.
Think about how powerful that can be. Imagine going into a job interview and trying to read the facial cues of the person who is interviewing you. If you keep a smile on your face, you are more likely view the other person as responding to you in a positive not negative way which will build up your confidence and help you give the best performance possible. And then in turn, your smile will also make them smile improving their mood and their perception of you. The circular nature of it is all is amazing.
Importance of a Healthy Smile
Despite the many benefits of a healthy smile, many of you don’t flash our teeth because we are self-confident of how our teeth look to other people. Do you find yourself hiding your smile in pictures and hiding your mouth when you talk? It is crucial that you make sure you are practicing good oral hygiene and are seeing your dentist for cleanings and checkups on a regular basis.
If despite your best efforts, you still have issues with the look or health of your teeth, don’t worry. There are affordable solutions that can help you achieve that beautiful smile you have always wanted. Don’t wait and keep suffering in silence. Set up a consultation appointment with a dentist who specializes in cosmetic dentistry and find out what your options are. Cosmetic dentists can handle everything from teeth whitening to veneers to braces, and there are a lot of options to choose from. Make sure to do your research and to go on at least a couple of consultation appointments before making any final decisions. Explore all your options and not what just seems to be the quickest and cheapest. We only get one set of teeth so need to take good care of them. Not only will you feel better about yourself, you will have an overall more positive outlook and life and feel physically healthier too.
Remember there are too many good things that come from smiling for you not to make your smile a priority. Very few of us naturally have beautiful, straight teeth so don’t feel bad if you need a little help in this area. Talk to the experts that can help you get the beautiful smile you have always dreamed of.