Image by fransisco_osorio via Flickr
According to Louis Armstrong, “When you’re smiling, the whole world smiles with you.” While this may be an exaggeration, smiling is contagious. About 50% of people respond to a smile with a smile—that is a lot of smiling. Why are so many people smiling? Because smiles are powerful. Smiling can improve your social life and your physical and emotional health. Read on to learn how.
Social Benefits of Smiling
- Smiling makes you appear more attractive. This is particularly true of women.
- People who smile look younger. Smiling is a natural way to lift your face which can leave you looking up to three years younger.
- People who smile are considered more trustworthy.
- Smiling encourages empathy. People are kinder to others who are smiling.
- Smiling makes you appear confident and approachable which can lead to success in the workplace.
- Smiling can make an awkward situation easier to handle. If you make a mistake or find yourself in an embarrassing situation, smiling is likely to garner you a more lenient response from others.
Physical and Emotional Benefits of Smiling
Physical and emotional health are inseparable. Your body uses hormones as signals. Hormones regulate your metabolism, your sleep cycle, and your immune system. They affect your heart rate, blood pressure, reproductive health, and your mood. Emotional responses result in the release of hormones so emotions have a very real effect on your body. Studies have suggested that people who smile may even live longer.
When you smile, your body releases endorphins. You may be have heard of endorphins before—they are the reason you feel so good after running or working out. Endorphins are powerful hormones—here are a few things they do:
- Endorphins are natural pain killers, so laughing at yourself when you fall down won’t just ease your embarrassment, it will ease your pain
- Endorphins also contribute to a better mood.
- Endorphins help your body reduce stress.
One of the biggest reasons smiling is powerful is that it reduces stress. When you are stressed, your body releases a hormone called cortisol. Although cortisol is sometimes necessary, most of the effects of cortisol are things we want to eliminate. Cortisol increases blood pressure and weakens the immune system. When you smile, endorphins are released and cortisol is reduced.
Stress can make it difficult for your mind to focus. When you are very stressed, your body goes into fight or flight mode. Cortisol levels are increased and your attention in narrowed—your body is focused on surviving. Smiling reduces stress which in turn widens your attention.
How to Make Sure Your Smile Stays Stunning
Now that you know about all the benefits of smiling, you probably want to start doing more of it. But what if you are self-conscious about your smile? Don’t miss out on all the amazing benefits of smiling, take action instead.
- Brush and floss your teeth every day.
- Ask a cosmetic dentist about safe ways to whiten your teeth.
- Visit your dentist at least once a year for a check-up and cleaning.
- Avoid eating sugary food, and steer clear of beverages that are full of sugar.
- Wait 30 minutes after eating to brush your teeth so that your saliva can neutralize the acid in your mouth.
- Get advice from places like Sierra Dental. A dentist can explain all your options, help you correct mistakes, and give you the tools you need.
- Eat dairy products and other foods with lots of calcium to protect and strengthen your teeth.
Take great care of your smile so you can wear it proudly and reap all the social, emotional, and physical benefits of smiling.
Michael David is a freelance blogger who is interested in many topics including healthy living.