“When you smile, the whole world smiles with you,” is more than just a cliche. It turns out that this is actually the scientific truth. According to several studies, including a brand-new one from the University of South Australia, smiling actually has a positive effect on your mood.
“Covert” Smiling Leads to Positive Emotions
For this study, researchers wanted to see if “covert” smiling affected people’s interpretation of people’s expressions and body language. Covert smiling is when people are asked to do something that mimics the facial muscle action of smiling without people being asked to smile. In this study, as in many studies, researchers accomplish this by asking participants to hold pens in their mouths. This creates the muscle action of smiling, without people being told to smile.
Then, researchers, had participants look at images of facial expressions and videos of body language, including videos of people walking in either a sad or happy way. People were asked to describe the emotions they saw in the expressions and body language.
It turns out that people with a pen in their mouth tended to rate both the facial expressions and the body language as more positive than those without pens in their mouths.
The Facial Feedback Theory
Why does smiling make you happy? It comes back to what psychologists call the facial feedback theory. In part, happy emotions stimulate us to smile, but in part, the brain gets signals from smiling muscles, which then stimulates more positive emotions.
Researchers confirmed this not only through the emotional ratings but by looking at the way the brain responded to covert smiling. They found that the activity stimulates the amygdala, the emotional center of the brain, which releases neurotransmitters that contribute to a happier mood.
This means that smiling will help you feel better.
What If You’re Uncomfortable with Your Smile?
This study reminds us that smiling is a powerful way to deal with negative emotions and experiences. People should smile when they can to give themselves a more positive outlook on the world.
But there’s a problem. What if you are uncomfortable with your smile? If the thought of showing your smile makes you feel self-conscious or unhappy, then it undermines the entire benefit.
Fortunately, you don’t have to live with a smile that makes you unhappy. Cosmetic dentistry has many procedures that can address all the common complaints people have about their smiles, from teeth whitening for discolored teeth to dental implants for missing teeth.
Cosmetic Dentistry in Anchorage
If you are unhappy with your smile in Anchorage, we can help. Excellence in Dentistry offers a full range of cosmetic dentistry procedures so that you can get the smile you want.
To learn what procedures might be best for you, please call (907) 349-0022 today for an appointment with cosmetic dentist Dr. Kendall at Excellence in Dentistry in Anchorage.