When I started my blog two years ago I titled it “You Are Never Fully Dressed Without a Smile”. This title was not only in reference to my dental profession, but also in regards to people’s overall happiness. In many of my past blogs I have talked about the many different ways to cosmetically improve your smile, but have you ever just though about how smiling affects your everyday life. Many studies have been done, and continue to be widely researched on how a smile can affect your daily emotions as well as others. Although, there is no specific scientific evidence on why our facial expressions can influence our emotions, there is a lot of supportive evidence on how our faces communicate our state of mind, not only to others but also to ourselves.
Research has shown that smiling is not only a natural reaction of feeling happy, but the act of smiling can also trigger the feeling of happiness. This happens because when you smile you release endorphins as well as dopamine. Endorphins are natural pain relievers, and dopamine is a feel good neurotransmitter. A smile is an emotion and when you smile, people treat you differently. You’re viewed as attractive, reliable, relaxed and sincere. Smiling can also be contagious! Crazy right, but if you think about it, when people around you are smiling you tend to start smiling or at least become happier and if people are sad and appear angry, then that makes you feel similar.
I recently read a blog about a woman who was a principal at an elementary school and then took a step back to spend time with her 1st child. She started feeling lost and unconnected, during one of her sleepless nights as a new mom she came across an article about smiling and how it could make you happier. The next day she decided to test the theory, she put her daughter into her carrier and went for a walk. She said it was tricky at 1st because you have to have a smile that is “authentic, and happy, but not too happy, or creepy”, over time she perfected her smile and noticed people smiling back. She has been perusing this smile mission now for nine years and has even gotten her kids involved. https://tinkergarten.com/blog/what-can-a-smile-do
Here are the key techniques she found to have the most success
1. You need to be willing to try
2. You need to make eye contact- real smiles involve both eyes and facial muscles
3. You need to mean it
4. You have to give it time
It’s important to remember life is full of ups and downs and you never know what type of day someone is having, so take the time and smile at them. Your kind action of a simple smile could make all the difference in one person’s day, as well as filling your heart with happiness at the same time.
So I’m challenging you to take your smile to the street and see how many smiles you can get back.
Check out the ted talks link below for more information about how a smile can communicate happiness, and emotional well-being.