No one likes hearing “you should smile more.”
If you don’t usually walk around with a natural grin, smiling can feel unnatural and forced. It doesn’t necessarily mean you’re unhappy or upset – maybe it’s just not how you like to present yourself.
The truth is, there are numerous health benefits of smiling and laughing, so you may want to rethink your demeanor a bit.
For many people, smiling makes them feel vulnerable – especially if they have less than perfect teeth.
Not comfortable with your current smile? There’s a solution for that, too.
6 Health Benefits of Smiling and Laughing You May Not Know About
Most people would probably agree that it’s a little rude to tell someone they would be prettier or more attractive if they smiled more often.
Instead, this list will focus on how the benefits of smiling can improve your overall life, emotional wellbeing, and the psyche of those you encounter on a daily basis.
Smiling is a Natural and Healthy Way to Release Endorphins
There’s no way around it: endorphins make you feel good and produce an analgesic effect.
Unfortunately, many folks turn to unhealthy routes for releasing endorphins like drugs or dangerous behaviors.
Smiling is an excellent way to release endorphins naturally without any dangerous side effects. Unlike exercise, you don’t even need to leave the couch.
Endorphins interact with special receptors in the brain to improve your physical and emotional wellbeing by reducing physical pain, fighting stress, and warding off depression.
Who knew a smile could be so physically powerful?
They Reduce Stress
It turns out, those friends or family members who crack jokes at seemingly inappropriate times may be onto something. Okay, their jokes may not always be in the best taste, but their coping skills are on-point.
According to a study from the Association of Psychological Scientists, the term “grin and bear it” actually holds quite a bit of merit.
During the study, participants held chopsticks in their mouth in a grin position while performing stressful tasks. The results showed that those with the chopsticks in their mouth had lower heart rates and lower self-reported stress levels than participants without the chopsticks in their mouth.
These folks weren’t even fully aware that they were smiling yet the benefits of smiling still paid off.
Smiling Can Help Strengthen Your Immune System
Believe it or not, there are actually some physical health benefits of smiling on a cellular level.
In fact, it can lower your immune system by producing more white blood cells which work hard to fight illness.
During a study, sick children in a hospital visited by entertainers recorded higher white blood cell levels than their unentertained counterparts.
So, if you’re sick, plan a movie marathon with your favorite comedies.
They Foster Human Connection
It’s true that smiling puts you in a vulnerable position. For that reason, studies show that people are more apt to approach others who smile.
Humans take body language seriously. Smiling generally indicates that someone is in a good mood – or at least receptive to conversation.
This means that smiling can also help build trust. Communication is hard sometimes and smiling makes it a little easier.
Smiles are Contagious
You’ve probably heard this several times, but what does it mean?
People mirror the body language they see in others. If you’ve ever walked into work and noticed your coworker is giving the cold shoulder, that attitude rubs off and you’re likely to reciprocate the feeling.
This means that if you smile, your positive attitude will reverberate with everyone you come into contact with from coworkers to people walking down the street.
It’s true: smiles are contagious.
They Can Help You Fake It Until You Make It
All the health benefits of smiling and laughing still apply even if you aren’t really putting your heart into it.
Yes, the mere physical act of smiling produces all these amazing benefits.
Remember the chopstick study from #2? The participants weren’t even aware that they were smiling yet still experienced the benefits.
So, even if you aren’t feeling up to a smile, fake it until you make it.
Did You Know Over 33% of Americans Aren’t Comfortable Sharing Their Smile?
According to a study commissioned by the American Association of Orthodontics (AAO), over one-third of
Americans are unhappy with the current state of their smile.
That means over 100 million people in the United States aren’t comfortable with their teeth and are missing out on all these amazing benefits.
Of that number
- 36% believe their social lives would improve if they had better teeth.
- 22% believe a better smile would improve their love life.
- Nearly half between the ages of 18 and 24 have untagged themselves from a Facebook photo due to disliking their smile.
- 14% feel like their less than perfect smiles are holding them back from developing a successful career.
If you’re unhappy with your smile, you aren’t alone. You now have more options than ever to improve your teeth and wellbeing at an affordable cost.
East Gate Orthodontics Can Help You Live the Health Benefits of Smiling and Laughing
Dr. Anisa Omar and the team at East Gate Orthodontics in Chantilly, Virginia are here to help build the smile you deserve. We’ve helped many patients improve their smiles and we’d love to help you, too.
We know that the health benefits of smiling and laughing are far reaching and can drastically impact your live in a number of positive ways. That’s why we offer a broad range of options for patients looking to improve their smiles and life.
East Gate Orthodontics provides treatment options for adults, teens, and children including Invisalign, metal and clear braces, state-of-the-art technology, and palatal expansion.