Most people consider a smile a consequence. We smile because something made us do it! However, new research is bringing the act of smiling into a whole new light.
Boost your Mood
A number of studies have been done to answer the question of what comes first: happiness or a smile. The findings may be surprising to you. In one study, participants who used their fingers or a tool to create a smile on their face viewed a cartoon they observed as funnier than participants who viewed the same cartoon with a neutral expression. The difference is not that one group actually felt happier, but that their brains were stimulated by the facial expression they simulated. In short, whether authentic or not, a smile tells the brain to produce the feel good endorphins that boost mood.
The same endorphins and neuropeptides that can put us in a better mood have also been shown to have a positive impact on stress levels. Study participants who smiled broadly after performing a stressful activity recovered more quickly than their counterparts, experiencing lower blood pressure and heart rate as a result of their physical act of expressing “happy” emotions.
Want to be More Productive? Smile!
In other studies, researchers focused on happiness and its correlation to productivity and success. Similarly to how we view a smile as a result of something external, many people assume that we feel happier when we experience more success. Findings from studies on adults, as well as children, found that happier participants performed tasks not only more efficiently, but also more quickly. They concluded that happiness is actually a primer for success, not the other way around. Creative thinking was also enhanced in participants of another study, enabling them to come up with viable solutions to a problem more quickly than study participants who were primed for a negative mindset.
Is the appearance of your smile standing in the way of sharing it? This doesn’t need to be the case. Feel great about your smile! Schedule a visit with Dr. Smith to discuss your cosmetic concerns. The appropriate solution for your needs may be simpler than you ever imagined.