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The Psychology of Smiling

The Psychology of Smiling

mom and daughter have fun outdoors, smiling and piggyback in the sunshine

A smile is more than just a friendly gesture. Over the years, research has continued to show us that there are several important psychological and emotional benefits you can get from a simple smile.

There are plenty of physiological reasons for this. It has to do with things like endorphins and serotonin, but we can also dig even deeper.

Ask yourself: do you smile because you feel good, or do you feel good because you smile?

Turns out, the answer is a little of both and our office wants to help you achieve the best smile possible. Whether you’re in need of teeth whitening or a full smile makeover, we’ve got you covered.

First, let’s take a look at some of the known psychological benefits of smiling:

  • Improve Your Mood: Smiling can reduce stress and frustration allowing you to relax and feel better. This is as much a physiological thing (those endorphins and serotonin again) as it is a psychological thing.
  • Make Others Happier: Smiling is contagious. It is a natural reaction to return a pleasant gesture that someone has shared with us.
  • Cope With Troubles: People who smile a lot tend to handle difficult challenges and sudden life changes a lot better.
  • Make an Impression: Studies have shown that people are more likely to remember a smiling face, whether they see it on a picture or in real life.
  • Be More Approachable and Appealing: Smiling says you are relaxed and open to others, so others are more willing to approach and speak with you.
  • Improve Your Work Situation: Does smiling lead to success, or does success cause you to smile? This is another philosophical question, but smiling may have a more direct impact on your job success than you think.
  • Build better relationships: A genuine smile will help you reduce conflict and make others feel more comfortable around you.

It’s Okay to Fake It Till You Make It

A number of recent studies are suggesting that you can literally choose to change your emotional state just by changing your facial expression. Remember when we asked if you smile because you feel good or if you feel good because you smile? According to this research, it’s actually a cyclical process that feeds off itself. The physical motion of smiling – even if you fake it (and know you’re faking it) – can start improving your mood.

Of course, it’s not just any smile that will start releasing those endorphins. This should be the kind of smile that involves the muscles around your eyes and your mouth. There’s something about these muscle movements that tells your brain it’s time to feel better. Then, when your mood starts to improve, you’ll naturally smile more – releasing more feel-good chemicals. The whole process just builds on itself.

Don’t Hide That Smile

So, given the benefits of a simple smile, why do so many people choose to maintain a more somber appearance? Why avoid smiling when it can turn their mood around?

For some people, they’re just too embarrassed to share a smile. The shape, alignment, and color of their teeth might be making them too self-conscious to readily smile. It doesn’t have to be that way, though. There are several services by a cosmetic dentist in Denver here at LeDowns Dentistry that can upgrade your smile quickly and easily, and you can start to feel better about your smile – and just start to feel better overall.

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