How Important Is Your Smile?
Your smile is one of your biggest assets. Smiling can change your mood and the mood of those around you. But did you know that smiling – or not smiling – also can affect your mental, physical and emotional health? Here are some reasons why you should smile more often:
Smiling boosts your self-confidence.
Smiling releases endorphins, nature’s happiness chemicals. A flood of endorphins can boost your self-confident. Studies have shown that smiling also can lift your spirits, make you look younger and give off vibes that you are comfortable and approachable.
Smiling helps you think positively.
Science says your brain is naturally inclined to think in negative terms as a defense mechanism, but if you make smiling a habit, it will help shift your mind to a more positive place – and you’ll stay there longer the more you smile. According to Shawn Achor, the author of The Happiness Advantage, making smiling an everyday habit helps your brain create happiness loops that encourage more positive-thinking patterns. “Happiness is a work ethic,” Achor wrote. “It’s something that requires our brains to train just like an athlete has to train.” And smiling, which almost always boosts your overall mood, is a part of that training.
Smiles are contagious.
If you share a smile, usually people will return the favor. And there’s a reason. According to neuroscientist Marco Iacoboni, we all possess mirror neurons, which are cells in the premotor cortex and inferior parietal cortex that turn on when we perform a given action as well as when we witness someone else performing it. And when it comes to smiling, mirror neurons respond to the acts of both seeing and doing. “When I see you smiling, my mirror neurons for smiling fire up, too, initiating a cascade of neural activity that evokes the feeling we typically associate with a smile,” Iacoboni told Scientific American.
Smiling reduces stress.
In a 2012 study published in Psychological Science, University of Kansas psychological scientists found that smiling can reduce stress and help you feel better in some situations. The scientists studied 170 participants who had to perform a stressful task and then hold chopsticks in their mouths in three formations, making them smile to various degrees without realizing it. The experiment revealed that subjects who smiled the biggest experienced a substantial reduction in heart rate and quicker stress recovery compared to those whose expressions remained neutral. Less stress means lower blood pressure and a stronger immune system. Other health benefits from smiling include relaxing the facial muscles and calming the nervous system.
Smiling boosts your productivity & creativity.
Smiling can make you a more productive employee and creative person. In 2010, researchers found that happiness has a significant and causal effect on workplace productivity. While positive emotions invigorate people, negative ones drain people. Smiling can boost your positivity and creativity. A 2013 study from the University of California, San Francisco, found that men who were happier looked at problems more comprehensively and came up with more solutions than their negative-minded peers. According to the researchers, this is connected to the release of dopamine triggered by happiness, since the neurotransmitter is involved in learning, processing and decision-making.
Smiling is so important, but some may find it hard to smile because of missing or damaged teeth. Teeth grinding affects more than 40 million Americans, and if you’re among them, you need to protect your teeth before they become severely damaged by nighttime grinding. If you experience bruxism, or teeth grinding, it could cause stress fractures and cracks in your otherwise healthy teeth. See your dentist to determine any damage and wear a quality mouth guard to protect your teeth at night. Try SleepRight’s custom fit dental guards and no-boil options. Visit www.sleepright.com