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How Your Smile Affects Your Life More Than You Think
A great smile can actually make you feel happy just like how our rapid movements affect our mood for the day. Motions affect our emotions and we don’t have to wait for the inspiration or that single happy thought. We can just start with a smile and our emotions will follow.
It’s just the beginning because when we always smile we can feel confident and competent whether in a professional or social setting. That’s especially the case when we have perfect white teeth we’re proud to show. An excellent oral health can help us smile more and thereby feel confident in almost every social setting.
Is there a science behind this?
Smiling activates the release of neurotransmitters (serotonin, dopamine, endorphins) and neuropeptides that help fight off stress. You then feel good and relaxed which affect not just your face but also your entire body. This could then help you become more sociable, confident and even reliable and attractive. After all, most people like to be around or associated with a confident and sociable person. A positive mood is contagious and most people already have enough for the day and they would rather spend it with someone positive and refreshing.
Earlier we mentioned the release of neurotransmitters because of smiling. For example, our bodies naturally produce endorphins to help us cope with stress and pain. An increase in endorphin levels causes that “runner’s high” after a long vigorous exercise. It’s no wonder because the word endorphin was derived from endogenous (it means from the body) and morphine. Great thing about endorphins is that they’re natural and safe.
Another neurotransmitter mentioned above is dopamine. The levels of dopamine we have can influence our mood, memory, focus and learning. In fact, deficient levels of dopamine are linked with depression, schizophrenia and psychosis. In addition, the levels of dopamine also influence motor control (hence, dopamine deficiency is also linked with Parkinson’s disease). We can see here that smiling (and then activating the release of dopamine and other neurotransmitters) indeed has an effect on our physical health.
We also mentioned serotonin (its release can also be activated by smiling) which can help reduce depression and regulate anxiety. It’s made from essential amino acid tryptophan which is why dietary deficiencies may result in mood disorders (essential amino acids must be obtained through diet). Aside from being a natural mood stabiliser, serotonin also helps with bowel movements, sleep, blood clotting, bone health and even sexual function. Serotonin levels can be boosted by exposure to sunlight, regular exercise, healthy diet (sources of essential amino acids), meditation and yes you’ve guessed it right, a great smile perhaps every now and then.
In other words, smiling affects our biochemical makeup which in turn influences our mental and physical health. If our biochemistry is in excellent shape, this then influences both how we treat ourselves and relate to others.
How your smile affects others
Most people smile back whenever we flash our teeth in a good way. It actually takes conscious effort to stop that smile because we’re just wired to return the favour whenever we can. Earlier we discussed how smiling affects our biochemistry and overall health. Because of that instinct and tendency for people around us to smile back, our act of smiling actually affects their biochemistry and overall health as well.
As a result, we’re spreading happiness and good health to people we encounter and interact with. Because of our initiative, this could have a ripple effect because those same people interact with their families, staff, colleagues, customers and other people. The impact is enormous because of this one simple action.
We don’t even have to go far and imagine how we’re making the world a better place. That’s because our smiles can help us with our personal success. With our positive attitude and facial expression, we feel more confident and competent during meetings and while performing our daily tasks. Our performance soars while we facilitate a positive and smooth collaboration with our clients, managers and peers.
Our families and friends will also be glad to be with us because of our positive attitude and expression. This then helps establish strong relationships that would maintain our happiness levels for years and decades to come.
So how do you smile more starting today? First, it should be natural because an authentic smile works wonders to us and to other people. But what if you can’t give that genuine smile? One good way is by moving around and doing some light exercise (this can elevate your dopamine, endorphin and serotonin levels). It’s also good to practice in front of a mirror before facing a friend, client or family member. Trust yourself that if you smile first, your emotions (and that of the other person) will follow.
It also helps to have an excellent-looking smile in the first place. By having an excellent oral health, you’ll feel confident in showing more of your teeth. Fewer things will also hold you back from smiling and laughing out of control in front of your family and friends.