Want a recipe to be healthier and feel great? Eat well, exercise, and…smile? Sounds too good to be true, I know, but new research shows that when we smile, a cascade of hormones are triggered to induce feelings of wellbeing, boosting your immune system, lowering your blood pressure, and reducing feelings of stress and anxiety. Some studies even seem to suggest that it can extend your life expectancy.
Dr. Isha Gupta a neurologist from IGEA Brain and Spine explains, smiling releases a chemical reaction in the brain, producing certain hormones including dopamine and serotonin. “Dopamine increases our feelings of happiness. Serotonin release is associated with reduced stress. Low levels of serotonin and dopamine are associated with depression and aggression,” says Dr. Gupta.
But we all know that a smile comes from the inside, if we’re happy, we smile, right? Well, yes, but it works the other way too. Researchers believe that even when we force a smile at ourselves in the mirror, the same positive cascade is triggered, gaining the benefits, and making it easier to feel positive. Even the Bible references the phenomenon of the power of a smile, “a cheerful look brings joy to the heart” Proverbs 15:30. Or Mother Theresa’s indelible quote “peace begins with a smile” – the powerful impact of a smile, to ourselves and to those around us can’t be denied.
A large survey also showed that when meeting someone for the first time, their smile is the most memorable feature (by a long shot). 48% of respondents said that the other person’s smile is what they remembered most compared to only 24% being what they said, 9% how they smelled, or 7% how they were dressed. Think about that. Think about the energy spent on #2 on that list (what they said) when meeting someone – now realize that your smile is twice as important. Remember the last time you met someone important for the first time? Your future in-laws? An admissions committee member, or an interviewer? There’s no second chance for a first impression, and a calm, confident smile is your secret weapon, take care of it, and it’ll take care of you.
Smile, it looks good on you!
Purveyor of Smiles at Semidey Dental