Has anyone ever told you to “just smile” when you’re feeling blue? Turns out, that wasn’t as unhelpful advice as you thought. Studies show that simply the act of smiling can greatly improve your mood and reduce stress. Better yet, the smile doesn’t even have to be real! Meaning, you can fake it and still get the same beneficial results.
New research from Penn State University is revealing just how many ways smiling is beneficial to your career and well-being.
Stress is connected to fatigue, chronic pain, muscle tension, increased inflammation, a weakened immune system, altered DNA in our cells, shortened telomeres and even chronic diseases like heart disease, cancer, and obesity/diabetes. The more stressed out you are, the shorter your life expectancy is and the lower your quality of life.
The new study from Penn State University discovered that adults who maintained cheerfulness throughout the minor stresses of daily life had lower inflammation levels. Genuine laughter also increases breathing while lowering blood pressure and heart rate.
When you smile, you’re viewed as attractive, reliable, relaxed and sincere. Seeing a smiling face actually activates your orbitofrontal cortex, the region of your brain that processes sensory rewards. This insinuates that, when you observe a person smiling, you actually feel rewarded.
The same study from Penn State University also concluded that people who smile often appear to be more likeable, courteous and competent – making you more desirable in a business setting. Find out how your smile is affecting you career here.
Humans automatically copy the facial expressions of those around them meaning that smiling really is contagious. People respond to, and evaluate, those who smile differently and more positively than those who do not.
But why is smiling so influential? It all comes down to how the physical act of smiling can alter your brain.
Think of your brain like a field. The first time someone drives through a field, they leave tire marks through the grass. If left alone, the field will regrow and return to its natural state. But, if that same truck drives through the field every day, several times a day, a path will form – making the trucks journey a little easier each time.
When you smile, your brain is creating new, positive pathways – just like the truck in the field. The more you smile, the wider the pathway becomes and the more effective you become at breaking the brain’s natural tendency to think negatively. If you smile often enough, you can actually rewire your brain to make positive patterns more easily than it does negative ones.
The Importance of Being Confident in Your Smile
We’ve listed the major benefits of smiling above, but what happens when you aren’t confident with your pearly whites? When you’re not comfortable with your smile – surprise, surprise – you tend to avoid smiling. Don’t miss out on all of the advantages smiling brings to your life. Schedule an appointment at Schaumburg Dental Studios today for all your corrective and cosmetic dentistry needs.