Most of us recognize that we smile naturally when we experience moments of joy or humor. Beyond this, we rarely think about what smiling could mean to us in terms of our health and wellness or even our personal success in life. However, research is shedding light on the broader rewards of frequent smiling.
Smiling and your Psyche
Because we tend to view smiling as a reactive mechanism, it is easy to miss the subtle cues that indicate the potential for the tables to be turned. According to several research studies, the act of smiling, even if it feels forced, stimulates activity in the brain that boosts mood almost instantly. This positive effect occurs because smiling tells the brain to produce dopamine, serotonin, and endorphins. We know these as a feel-good chemicals, and we are beginning to know them as major players in the area of stress management.
When we are stressed emotionally, the body is flooded with cortisol. This stress chemical has been identified as a factor in a number of health conditions. When we smile, the brain’s production of endorphins a neuropeptides outweighs the effects of cortisol in the body. This translates into its lower heart rate, lower blood pressure, and even lower levels of the hormones that make us feel hungry.
Smiling and your Health
Stress is an underlying factor in many of the medical concerns people experience today; so the mere fact that smiling can reduce stress is significant to our overall health and wellness. However, further research studies have demonstrated the power of smiling on physical health. Smiling stimulates white blood cells, which are necessary to help us fight and resist health conditions such as the flu. Additionally, the cells in the body respond to smiling by entering a more relaxed state. What this means to our health is that we are better protected against cellular mutation brought on by chronic stress.
Dentists understand that, even with plenty of reasons to smile, some people are far too self-conscious about the appearance of their teeth to do so. Fortunately, there are several ways that we can help you feel great about your teeth and about your smile so you can experience all of the physical, emotional, and relationship benefits of this expression. Give us a call to discuss your cosmetic concerns.