Whether you’re of the opinion that smiling is an involuntary response to stimuli or is a conscious, intentional choice, one thing remains clear – the power behind the smile has significant effects on mental health.
A research study undertaken by the University of South Australia has shed fascinating insight into the power of a smile. Researchers have discovered that the physical act of smiling is like a trick of the mind. Moving the facial muscles to form a smile, the brain is ‘tricked’ into feeling more positive.
There is a direct link between facial muscular activity and positive emotions. There are three primary ‘happy-feeling’ brain chemicals that are stimulated by smiling: serotonin, dopamine and endorphins. When the smile muscles are activated, the brain gets the go-ahead to ramp up the production of these mood-boosting neurotransmitters.
Why aren’t we smiling more?
A national study commissioned by the Extra Oral Healthcare Program shows that two-thirds of adults in Australia are smile shy. Respondents cited being self-conscious about the look of their smiles as a main reason for avoiding smiling – 27 per cent named yellowing teeth and 21 per cent pointed to the poor state of their oral health.
Fortunately, the dental aesthetics industry has opened up numerous ways to enhance dental appearance for better-looking smiles. Treatment plans like veneers Gordon can cover a multitude of smile sins from fractured teeth to staining issues to slight gaps between teeth.
Dental aesthetics treatments have become a mainstay in modern dental care services as more and more people are waking up to the fact that smiling can help improve the quality of their lives.
Compelling reasons to smile more
Smiling lengthens longevity. It is easy to see the positive relationship between smiling and longer lifespans. Happier people generally seem to enjoy better health. This may be due to positivity having a favourable impact on the immune system.
Many mental health experts advocate the benefits of smiling as a stress reliever. When stress spirals out of control, this can be disastrous for mental as well as physical health. Stress can lead to depression and a lack of interest in self-care including eating. Not receiving adequate nutrition leads to a weakened immune system which leaves the door open for illness to set in.
Not only an effective stress reliever, smiling may also have a similar desirable effect on pain. In addition to elevating mood, mood-enhancing brain chemicals like endorphins help to relax the body which, in turn, helps to reduce pain.
One of the best effects of smiling is self-confidence. The wearer of a confident smile is judged to be attractive, intelligent, capable and holding leadership qualities. This may be why beautiful people experience more success in their personal and professional lives.
One of the more remarkable effects of smiling is that it is not only beneficial for the wearer. The positive impact on mood extends to include anyone else the smile is aimed at. Scientific evidence points to the positive ripple effect of smiling. It is an unconscious reflex to smile yourself when spotting a smile on someone else. The attractiveness of a smile is closely tied to dental appearance.
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