Common medical questions and answers through blogs and articles

Health Benefits of Smiling

“We shall never know all the good that a simple smile can do” ~Mother Teresa

Those are wise words indeed, spoken by the late Mother Teresa.  These days, world events have us weary and worried.  Many times we shuffle out of the door, breaking a smile to those to whom we feel obligated to smile at, but, admittedly our smile is not always heartfelt.  We are wise to cast our cares aside when we venture out, so that we let others see the good in our soul, and not the sorrows or angst that we might carry with us.  Even those who suffer from depression will benefit from a smile – a shared smile that they give away or one that they receive.

Just Grin

The idea of presenting a happy face to the world is good for your psyche.  In fact, smiling is the best present we can give to ourselves.  It is free and people will be more enamored with you from benefiting from your positive influence on them.

Sadly, most of us don’t factor enough time in their day to smile more and enjoy life. Other countries take more vacation time, spend more hours together as a family, plus they have a slower pace in their life.  It pays off in the long run.  Americans are really too tied to their jobs or obligations – there is no badly needed “down time” … and it shows.  It shows in lines in our faces, our hurry-up-and-get-to-the-next-project attitude, whether it is at work, or at leisure.  Life is just too stressful and too serious and, as individuals, we need to lighten up more.

Why We Should Smile

It does not matter whether you have a stellar smile, i.e. perfectly aligned and shiny white teeth, or, a less-than-perfect smile – happiness and a face wreathed in smiles is all about attitude.  Admittedly, perfect teeth, (whether you were born with them or spent countless hours and your hard-earned money, at the office of a dentist that specializes in cosmetic dentistry), will win folks over.  Your dazzling smile will never fail to get others to reciprocate with an equally dazzling smile of their own.  In fact, do not let your less-than-perfect smile stop you from putting your best face forward and thus exhibit your good nature.  Are your teeth less than perfect, so you’re shy about giving a big smile?  Well, then just consider a consult with a cosmetic dentist to help you out in that regard.

What Happens to Your Psyche

Extensive research proves what experts knew already – there are many health benefits of smiling, some which you may not even have known about.  For example, when you smile and laugh, a host of physiological changes immediately occurs in your body. That natural joy activates neural messaging that benefits your health, and, naturally controls your happiness.  A smile has a domino effect in your body.  First, it activates the release of neuropeptides that work to fight off stress.  Simultaneously, the feel-good neurotransmitters dopamine, endorphins and serotonin are all released.  This trio of neurotransmitters help to relax your body and lower your heart rate as well as your blood pressure, all which benefit your health.  Endorphins are known to act as a natural pain reliever and serotonin is an anti-depressant, so releasing these valuable neurotransmitters, make you feel good and are 100% natural and organic, as opposed to drug-induced, and, thus, there are no negative side effects.

Smiling Can Be Contagious

Just a simple upturn of the mouth creates a relationship with a stranger – just by a smile.  That relationship is a bond, formed by the simple act of smiling and the dual release of feel-good chemicals (neurotransmitters), enabling both of you to have a happier and healthier day.

Your Face Opens Up When You Smile

The common consensus is that you are better looking when you smile.  Do a simple test – smile, then watch people’s reactions.  They will treat you differently than if you exhibit your “resting face” or a frown.  One study reported that seeing an attractive face activates your orbitofrontal cortex.  This is the region of your brain that processes sensory reward, so the study suggests that when you see a person smiling you feel rewarded.

At work, when you smile, you are viewed as not only attractive, but reliable, relaxed and sincere, so keep that smile going every day, all day long going forward.  It just may pay off in the long run.

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