A smile is so much more than just a set of teeth, and it’s much more powerful than you may think. In fact, psychological research has suggested that our smiles are the windows to our souls. Your smile is critical in people’s perceptions of who you are, your temperament, and your trustworthiness.
What’s more, your smile can actually affect your own mental health and well-being. The psychology behind our smiles may surprise you – and we’re here to break down how your smile can bring positive changes to your mood, mental state, and the world around you.
Boosts Your Mood
Your smile is made possible by a muscle called the zygomatic major. This muscle contracts the sides of your mouth, giving you the physical ability to lift your mouth into what we know as a smile. Your brain responds to physical actions. Many studies suggest that when you smile – even if it’s not an entirely sincere smile – your mind registers the physical movement of smiling and immediately connects that to improving your mood. So, when your brain registers that zygomatic major muscle in action, it interprets that motion as happiness and creates that emotion. And for the record, it takes 43 muscles to frown, but only 17 to smile – including our friend, the zygomatic major! So, from a logical point of view, smiling takes less effort, so why wouldn’t you do it!
Lowers Your Stress Levels
We all deal with stress in our day-to-day lives. One can assume that everyone desires ways to decrease their stress. They often turn to exercise, medication, mediation, and other means to help level their stress. But did you know that simply smiling can help lower your stress levels? That same muscle we mentioned earlier – when engaged – causes your brain to release endorphins. These brain chemicals are the same ones that get released during a “runner’s high,” helping lower stress levels AND bring euphoric feelings! We’ll take some of that, please!
Sparks Your Creativity
Have you ever felt a creativity block, with seemingly nothing able to break you out of it? Try smiling. Many psychologists have found that the simple act of smiling can trigger your brain’s creativity. Even if it’s a forced smile, it can trick your brain into thinking it’s a genuine smile and trigger the right brain to activate – which is where your creativity resides. Try it next time you’re in a creative slump and see if it helps!
Smiling is Contagious
Our smiles evolved on an evolutionary scale as a way for us to nonverbally communicate with one another. A piece of that evolution was forming a specific brain cell known as ‘mirror neurons.” These neurons are activated when we perform a particular action when we see other people doing the same action. The cool thing about these neurons is that they physically prove that smiling is actually contagious! Smiling not only improves your mood, but it can also positively impact the people around you. It really is true that when you surround yourself with positive energy, it will cause you to become more positive and vice versa.
Improves Your Confidence
Smiling is often linked with your brain due to the self-confidence that comes with your teeth’s appearance. Your smile is one of the first things people will notice about you – or at least that’s how it can feel if you’re not confident with your smile. When you have a smile you want to share with the world, your confidence in showing it off will soar!
If you feel less than confident about your smile, Loudoun Smile Center can help! We offer services that go far beyond just your oral health – they can transform your smile AND your mindset. Give us a call today and take the first step to getting a smile that you’ll want to show off!