Benefits of Starting a New Year Smiling

January 21, 2016

Benefits of smiling

You’ve undoubtedly heard the expression, “Let a smile be your umbrella.” Well, it turns out a great smile can protect you from more than just life’s metaphorical rainstorms. Smiling can also shield you from disappointing developments in your personal and work life. It can help you develop a sunnier, more positive outlook that makes you more fun to be around.

There’s a lot of value in pasting a grin on your face, including surprising scientific benefits of smiling that can help you improve your health. The advantages of wearing a smile include:

  • Boosting your mood
  • Improving heart health
  • Turning around a sour situation
  • Helping ease stress

Here at AZ Family Dental, we’re partial to smiling patients for other reasons, too, such as showing off those freshly cleaned pearly whites or debuting a new capped tooth we just finished working on. We love to see you happily displaying the teeth we help to keep healthy and strong.

As you begin the new year, why not making smiling every day one of your resolutions? It’s one you will have no trouble keeping. We’ve compiled a comprehensive guide on the benefits of smiling to help motivate you. We’ll also give you 10 things to smile about as the new year begins.

Why Is Smiling Good for You?

A smile can be voluntary. You may spy a friend across the street and smile to let them know you see them. Smiles can also be involuntary, such as the grin that creeps across your face when you observe something funny or heartwarming, like a father reuniting with his daughter after she was deployed in Iraq.

Smiles can also be a way of signaling things to other people. Perhaps you want to let a new neighbor know you are friendly or forgive the frazzled bank clerk who messed up your transaction. Maybe you think the person sitting across from you at the library is cute. Whatever the reason, you often make a conscious choice to smile.

That’s why smiling is good for you: It acts as a beacon to others, saying “I’m in a good mood, I’m approachable, and I’m fun.” So much the better if you’ve got some dazzling teeth to display when you flash that smile. Why do actors such as Tom Cruise skyrocket to fame? It definitely has something to do with their amazing smiles.

What Are the Advantages of a Smile in Daily Life?

Think about the last time you were truly happy. You probably wore a big grin, and people undoubtedly noticed how happy you were from that big smile. A smile can be a cue to others that you are happy, confident, and fun to be around. That, in turn, will draw them to you. When you’re surrounded by people, you’re usually happier. Basically, smiling becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

There are many more reasons to smile in your daily life as well:

Boost Your Mood

Researchers have studied patterns in actors that suggest their real-life moods mirror the mood they are modeling. When they pretend to be angry, they often actually become angry in real life. The same is true for smiling. By displaying a behavior you’ve learned to associate with happiness, you may actually become happy when you force yourself to smile.

Improve Your Heart Health

A healthy heart is certainly something to smile about. You can keep your ticker in optimal condition by smiling often. People who are happy have less stress than those who are unhappy, and stress is a major factor in heart conditions. Those who have an optimistic, sunny outlook on life are less likely to develop hypertension than those who are pessimistic.

Make a Bad Situation Better

Smiling won’t change your circumstances, but it can change your mindset, which can help you find different ways to deal with an existing problem. When you frown and moan, you are focusing all your energy on lamenting your poor situation instead of trying to solve it. By smiling and forgetting for a moment that things appear dire, you may start to look at your issue differently.

For instance, say you missed the bus to work. Two scenarios might play out:

  1. Your boss hates it when you’re late for no reason, and you’re so busy stewing over your bad luck that you don’t notice the donut shop on the corner. You grumble all the way to work, and your boss yells at you when you glower your way into the office.
  2. Now imagine instead of pouting, you take a moment to smile and look around you after you miss the bus. You see the donut shop, you pop in to order a dozen, you make the next bus, and everyone at work is happy, including your sweet-loving boss. You turned the situation around.

Ease Stress

Everyone feels stress from time to time. When you smile, you can actually relieve stress by helping to lower your heart rate, which in turn calms you down. If you have less stress, you’ll be more pleasant to be around and you may even find your productivity soaring.

Combat Depression

Depression can be a debilitating condition that makes life difficult for not only the person affected by it, but also for those around them. While it’s too simple to say that smiling can cure depression, it can have a positive impact on treatment. Researchers have found that preventing people from frowning and having them demonstrate happy feelings can actually lessen symptoms of depression.

Relive Happy Moments

Smiling can trigger memories of happy times. Say you spent a wonderful summer living in downtown Phoenix after college, when you pursued your love of art history by taking classes. When you smile at the sight of a piece of art, your brain will be transported back to that magical time, and you will subconsciously relive your happiness.

Grin and Bear It? It’s True!

You’ve undoubtedly heard the expression “grin and bear it,” which means to smile even though you’re not happy. The idea is that you can train yourself to make it through something unpleasant if you just put a smile on your face. It turns out that this expression actually has some real-life merit.

Researchers found that when people’s faces were manipulated into smiles, they actually showed impressive improvements in their moods and well-being, such as lower rates of stress. Apparently another expression, “fake it till you make it,” has some root in truth as well.

Work Out Your Face

A smile can use from five to 53 facial muscles, depending on your expression. You’ll probably smile just thinking about that odd fact.

Make Others Smile, Too

You’ve probably heard people say it’s impossible not to smile back at someone who smiles at you. While that’s perhaps not a scientific fact, it has its roots in truth. When you see someone else who is happy and beaming, it makes you feel a special joy inside. Returning a smile exhibits kindness and warmth, and isn’t that what most people have at their core? Wearing a smile helps spread sunshine. Smiles are free to share and hard to ignore. There’s a reason for that old expression, “Smile and the world smiles with you.” Give it a try.

We spend roughly one-quarter to one-third of our lives at work. It’s an important part of our daily existence, and our attitude there can decide whether it’s a positive or negative experience. The more you smile, the better work will get. That’s not just because of your cheery attitude. It’s a little-known fact that smiling can also put you on a path to better benefits and promotions at work.

Here are a few ways smiling at work can help you:

Show Your Positive Qualities

Let’s be honest: Work isn’t always fun. Sometimes it’s a downright drag, and it’s easy to get stuck in the “work’s a bummer” mindset when you toil away day after day. However, just because your job isn’t all butterflies and rainbows doesn’t mean you need to play Debbie Downer.

Smile to show that:

  • You are happy with what you do
  • You can find joy in the small things
  • You appreciate everything your higher-ups do for you and your colleagues

Look Like a Leader

A smile can be a powerful weapon in your bid to earn a promotion. A study at the University of Montpellier found smiling conveys effective leadership even better than actually demonstrating exceptional management responsibilities. Those in authority like the confidence people who smile a lot display, and they are lulled into thinking those people are capable of leading, regardless of their actual leadership potential.

Appear More Likeable

No one wants to be around the office sourpuss. In fact, people go out of their way to avoid being assigned projects where they work with sourpusses. If you’re perceived as unhappy, you can thus miss out on career opportunities because other people don’t want to be stuck with you.

On the other hand, if you smile, people will perceive you as likeable. That’s a hugely desirable trait in a co-worker. Management loves to see people who exude positivity on the job, and a smile can help win you the right kind of attention from your bosses, who often reward those setting a good example.

Spread Cheer to People Around You                          

People’s emotions can sometimes function as a mirror. When you show your feelings, those around you notice what those feelings are by picking up on your facial cues. A big indicator of happiness is smiling. This puts others around you at ease, and they also appreciate the fact that you are happy. Suddenly they themselves becoming happy as well. It’s almost as though a smile produces a placebo effect, boosting everyone else’s spirits.

Gain Co-Workers’ Trust

Trust can make or break you at the office. Someone who has earned the trust of their co-workers shows management they’re worthy of keeping around for the long term. If you want to earn that trust, a smile can go a long way. A smile shows your co-workers that:

  • You like them
  • You respect them
  • You have a positive outlook
  • You care about yourself and those around you

Scientific Benefits of Smiling

Scientists have become enthralled with a simple smile. It’s truly amazing how much research has been conducted on the power of smiling and how it can help enhance our lives. Here are a few scientific studies we found most interesting about smiling and how it can benefit your life:

Release Endorphins

Endorphins are essentially a sugar rush for your brain, but without any of the terrible after-effects, such as grumpiness and lethargy. Smiling can trigger the release of these natural mood-boosters, which also enter the body after you work out. You’ll feel like you’re floating on air and be ready to conquer the world. Plus, endorphins serve as natural painkillers, so if you’re experiencing any discomfort, a quick smile can help you feel better.

Increase Your Immunity

It’s no joke: You can actually boost your immune system by laughing and smiling. The side effects of these two joyous activities give the immune system a lift. These positive impacts include:

  • Revving up your body’s energy levels
  • Protecting you from the ravages of stress
  • Helping you deal with conflict in a healthy manner
  • Relaxing your body
  • Increasing the flow of blood to the heart by opening up blood vessels

Pump up Productivity

Want to get more done in your day? Smile and see your productivity soar. Researchers found people who smile and show their happiness get more done around the office. In fact, happy people are 12 percent more productive than their colleagues, while unhappy people were 10 percent less productive. You know which side of that equation you want to be on.

Reduce Blood Pressure

When you relax, your blood pressure naturally decreases. Smiling helps you to relax. Even just five minutes of smiling off and on while thinking of a pleasant memory, such as a child playing with a toy or a dog running joyfully down the street, can eliminate stress and help your blood pressure drop.

Lower Anxiety

A number of studies have found health benefits of smiling, such as reducing anxiety. Researchers have many theories for why this may be true, including:

  • Smiling helps you relax
  • Being happy reduces production of stress hormones
  • Your heart rate slows when you smile, helping to ease your tension levels

10 Reasons to Smile This Year

Still not convinced? We present 10 reasons why you should smile in 2016:

  1. Kitten videos on YouTube
  2. Time with friends
  3. Big tubs of popcorn at the movies
  4. Holiday celebrations with family
  5. Vacation
  6. Snowmen in winter
  7. Snowcones in summer
  8. The Summer Olympics
  9. Finding a $20 bill in a pocket when you do laundry
  10. Ridiculous selfies.

Make Your Smile More Dynamic Than Ever

Speaking of smiles, if you need some work done on your teeth to make your smile even better, come visit the AZ Family Dental office located near Glendale, Arizona. We offer cosmetic dentistry procedures to perfect your pout and give you even more reason to grin. Whether you need veneers or bleaching, let us help you keep your resolution to keep on smiling. Contact us today to make an appointment.

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