When we smile we generally do so because we’re feeling happy-go-lucky, because we find something amusing, or because we like someone. We do it almost unconsciously and it’s almost the definition of ‘innocent’. What many of us will be unaware of though is the sheer power that that smile holds – the power to influence the minds of others and cast them under a hypnotic spell, the ability to alter our brain chemistry and the ability to change our lives beyond all our hopes. Just the act of smiling on its own can affect aspects of your life you probably had no idea about (think the trailer for Limitless) so it’s crucial that you look after your teeth, develop a smile you’re proud of, and then keep on using it. Don’t believe me? Read on for some examples of what smiling can do for you…
First of all, the simple act of smiling can greatly enhance your mood. The reason for this is that we smile when we’re happy, and that this associations has become ingrained in our minds to the point where it works both ways. Due to something called ‘facial feedback’, our brain produces the chemistry to correspond with whatever expression we pull. So frown and grimace and your mood will drop, smile and it will improve.
Being in a good mood has many positive effects too, with those happiness hormones helping us to strengthen our immune system and reduce cortisol production at the same time as improving memory, optimism and creativity. So in other words, just smiling can help you to get colds less often and even perform better at work…
The Moods of Others
Facial feedback is one interesting phenomenon in our brain, but another is ‘mirror neurons’. Mirror neurons are the neurons that may just be responsible for empathy, and studies have found that they fire in response to the expressions we see on the faces of others. In other words, you see someone smiling and it makes you feel as though you’re smiling. Thanks to facial feedback that then means you’re more likely to be in a good mood as well.
That then means that if you’re a smiley person, everyone who meets you will feel a little bit better about themselves and a little happier. Over time, this can then serve to create an association so that whenever they see you they then feel good automatically – you’ve become linked in their mind to those positive feelings. Surprise, surprise this can then make you more popular and even more attractive meaning you’ll have more friends and even a better romantic life thanks to all that grinning.
The Law of Attraction
Turning our attention now to pop psychology, the law of attraction is another psychological concept though one that’s a little less peer reviewed. Still, the theory is sound, and basically describes how acting a certain way and even looking a certain way can lead to your reality fitting that behaviour/appearance.
In other words then, if you smile a lot then you will appear more confident and successful (why else would you be smiling?) and in turn this can lead to us becoming more successful and confident. Why? Well when you smile and look confident to others, this will of course mean they’re more likely to treat you as though you’re confident and successful. When that starts happening you will begin to pick up on those changes, and start to believe it more yourself creating a ‘virtuous cycle’ that only leads to your continual self-development.
Furthermore, once people start to think of you as happy-go lucky, confident, helpful, successful and the rest of it, they’ll be more inclined to offer you better positions at work or to ask you out on a date. All of which will only continue to boost your confidence and give you even more reason to smile.
Smiling also sends a lot more signals than you might realise, particularly to members of the opposite sex. When assessing potential partners, unconsciously we register things that might affect their ability to provide for our children both in terms of resources and in terms of genetics.
Straight white teeth send a lot of positive signals in both these regards as they show us as having a good diet as well as being generally conscious of our appearance. Furthermore straight white teeth create symmetry in our faces which we unconsciously associate with good genetics (and specifically the ability for our cells to reproduce through mitosis without mutations), while celebrity culture has created an association between white teeth and status and success.
In other words then, if you don’t have a great smile and it isn’t regularly plastered on your face then you’re missing out. Get on it! Now you just have to decide if you want to use your new powers for good or evil…
Stella James is a healthcare professional. She enjoys writing health blogs in her spare time. She says that laughter indeed is the best medicine. She suggests cosmetic dentistry in Balcatta to people who have any sort of dental problems.