Want to know how to increase your health and happiness? I’ll tell you. It’s not difficult. It’s not time-consuming. It’s not expensive – in fact, it’s free!
Physiology and Emotion
That’s right, the simple act of smiling has been shown to boost your mood. This is due to the interaction between physiology and emotions in the body.
When you do things that are typically associated with happiness or silliness, like smiling, laughing, or shaking your rump, the feedback your body receives connects it with the usual pleasant emotions and makes you feel better. Go ahead and try it. You’ll find that even if you don’t feel like smiling, your mood will start to improve if you continue to smile. You can’t help it. Of course, this mechanism works the other way, too. If you catch yourself with a sour expression on your face, or hold your body in a posture associated with depression, you are more likely to experience feelings of sadness.
Are you conscious of the messages your facial expression and body posture are sending to your brain? Check in with yourself throughout the day, and if you find yourself grimacing or hunching over in a defensive posture, switch to a smile and an open, welcoming body posture and watch your mood soar.
The Health Connection
The mechanism that controls the phenomenon described above relies on neuropeptides, small molecules that allow neurons to communicate with each in the brain. They influence the body, the brain, and behavior in many ways, from aiding sleep to reducing stressing to elevating mood.
When you smile, for example, the body releases neurotransmitters like dopamine, serotonin, and endorphins, which not only promote good feelings, but lower heart rate and blood pressure, too. A lower heart rate and blood pressure level are associated with better health and longevity.
While smiling is no substitute for hitting the gym, it’s still a simple way to give your health a quick boost.
How the World Sees You
A person’s smile is often the first thing someone notices about them. A survey on behalf of the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry found that 48% of Americans think the smile is the most memorable aspect of a person when meeting for the first time. It’s even more memorable than the first thing a person says, which only got 25% of the votes. People who smile are judged to be more attractive, more reliable, more relaxed, and more sincere. Your smile may be the greatest calling card you have when trying to make a good first impression in both personal and professional settings.
Yet many people stifle their smile. They’re embarrassed because they have crooked, missing, or discolored teeth instead of the straight, even pearly whites they want. The good news is, the smile you dream of is within reach! It’s never too late, no matter what your age. If you find yourself hesitant to smile, you owe it to yourself to look into your options. With advances in the field all the time, improving your smile is now quicker and more comfortable than ever before. Before you know it, you’ll have a smile you can be proud of.