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A Message to Everyone With A Smile

Wednesday, September 5th, 2018

Smiles are one of the most universally understood facial gestures. A smile can encourage, communicate, inspire, and improve many a situation. Did you know that smiling also has many health and social benefits? Check out these proven benefits to turning that frown upside down.

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How Smiling Impacts Your Social Life

Better Interactions: People who smile more often are typically treated better. A study from the Journal of Neuropsychologia found that a person watching another person smiling promotes rewarding feelings by the observer, and improves how they act towards you.

Thoughts Towards You: A 2011 study by researchers at the Face Research Laboratory in Scotland found that smiling and eye contact increased both men’s and women’s subjective judgment of attractiveness by the study participants. People tend to view a smiling person as more attractive, reliable, relaxed and sincere (1).

Better Relationships: We are drawn to people who smile more often. Those who smile are considered more likable. Being likable is one of the important components to building and maintaining strong and healthy social bonds and relationships with others. An increase in positive emotions is also linked to better interpersonal skills.

How Smiling Impacts People Around You

Pay it forward with a smile! A smile is considered “contagious”. This is proven analysis of brain activity: The part of your brain that activates when happy and the part that controls the facial expression of smiling reside in an unconscious, automatic response area of the brain called the cingulate cortex. Looking at someone smiling makes your brain want to imitate the expression. Avoiding a return smile is almost impossible to do without making a conscious effort not to do so  (1).

How Smiling Impacts Your Brain

Each time you actively smile, neurons in your brain are activated and send messages to other parts of the brain and body in response to the smile. These specific messages improve your health, your happiness, lower your stress levels, and relax your body. This occurs due to the release of the “feel-good” neurotransmitters, which are dopamine, endorphins, and serotonin (1).

Improved Mood: Just as smiling at someone else can encourage them to smile and feel better, smiling does good for your own happiness too! Smiling will actually activate those happiness centers of your brain due to the neural pathways associated with the expression. This can spur on actual feelings of happiness, and provide you with the perk of an improved mood. Smiles help you genuinely stay and feel happier. It’s a great life hack when you want to try and cheer up (2).

Immune Function: The brain is also intricately connected to your immune system function. Studies show again and again how depression weakens the immune system, while happiness boosts the immune response and disease-fighting systems in our body. This all starts with a smile. The physical action of a smile, with or without emotions of happiness, “tricks” our brain into assuming happiness is happening, and helps to protect our body. The phrase “laughter is the best medicine” carries a lot more importance than we might have originally thought.

Stress Reduction: The brain responds so positively to smiling that it produces both psychological and physical improvements in stress markers. So if you’re feeling stressed, try to squeeze in a few smiles. Your brain responds with the stress-reducing and calming neuron activity, as well as a lowered heart rate, to help you calm down and handle the situation more effectively (3).

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How Smiling Impacts Your Body

Lowered Blood Pressure: Smiling and laughing activities create direct physiological changes in the body. These actions are followed by muscle relaxation, decreased heart rate, and decreased blood pressure in the body. These health factors mean a lower risk of heart disease in your future. So smile and laugh every day (2, 3)!

Stress Reduction: The lowered stress levels mentioned above help reduce not only the negative psychological impact of stress, but the physical impact of stress as well.

Pain Relief: Laughter helps the body release its own natural painkillers, increases your pain threshold and leads to a greater tolerance to pain. This can be especially helpful in long term, chronic illness or pain (3).

Longer Life Span: Smiling and positive emotions are associated with longer life spans. That alone is enough reason to find more things to smile about (3).

We Care About Your Smile

We think these benefits prove that smiling more often just makes sense! We want you to not only have a smile you can be proud of, but feel confident about expressing yourself with a grin, enabling you to enjoy these health and life benefits.

At Hagen Dental, our team is dedicated to providing you and your family with excellent dental care. Set up your next appointment with us! Give us a call today at (513) 251-5500. We’re looking forward to meeting you and your family, or welcoming you back again!

Sources:

  1. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/cutting-edge-leadership/201206/there-s-magic-in-your-smile
  2. https://benefitsbridge.unitedconcordia.com/top-7-health-benefits-smiling/
  3. https://www.nbcnews.com/better/health/smiling-can-trick-your-brain-happiness-boost-your-health-ncna822591