For such a simple and small thing, smiling can have some great benefits for both your body and your state of mind.
Aside from just being a sign of happiness, smiling can do much more for you – so if you ever needed more motivation to turn that frown upside down, here are five benefits that might just sway your mind.
1. Projecting confidence and success
It goes without saying that we are drawn more to people who project a friendly, pleasant and personable outlook compared to someone who seems sullen, angry or withdrawn.
In this way, when you smile you create a more positive, confident and open image of yourself that may help in situations such as job interviews.
2. Make yourself happier
Even when a smile isn’t coming from a natural reaction to something pleasing, the movement of the same muscles in your face can still stimulate the same area in your brain.
A study led by physiologist Paul Ekman tested students smiling spontaneously and on purpose, and it found that the activity recorded in their brains was almost the same on each occasion.
3. Recover from stress
A recent article in the Wall Street Journal referenced a study of 170 participants, which found that people who smiled after doing a particularly stressful task experienced a faster reduction in their heart rate afterwards.
Those who smiled also recorded a faster physiological recovery from stress, according to the study’s co-author and University of California, Irvine’s assistant psychology professor Sarah Pressman.
This is because the muscle activity involved with smiling sends messages to the brain that signal ‘safety’, potentially influencing the body’s natural responses to stress.
4. Wind back the years
Despite all the worry about ‘laugh lines’ as we age, smiling may actually help you seem younger. In a study from Berlin’s Max Planck Institute, participants presented with pictures of happy, smiling faces compared to faces with neutral expressions voted the smiley pictures as the youngest looking.
5. Improve your health
Smiles and laughter could help to boost your immune system. The Loma Linda University School of Medicine’s Department of Clinical Immunology found laughter increased the number of white blood cells in the body, the type that is critical for fighting off infections and boosting immunity.
With all of the benefits that a healthy smile can give you, why not look after yours as best you can? A cosmetic dentist can change the appearance of your grin with procedures such as teeth whitening and Invisalign.