If you Google “smiles and smiling” or “facts about smiling”, you’ll find all kinds of articles and posts about why smiling is so amazing and why you should do it more and even some exercises to help you “practice” smiling. If you’re interested in that, the internet is your friend; go for it. In this post though, we want to keep things a little simpler, and we mostly want you to walk away with a little more confidence in and fondness for your own smile.
We all know there’s a difference between a real smile and a forced smile, right? And if you don’t feel like smiling, how do you access that genuine, deep-down, life-giving smile? That’s a good question, and there’s no one-size-fits-all answer. But we’re going to offer you our working theory: since most of us smile when we see our friends or someone we love, if you can learn to see your smile as a friend, then you’ll want to see it often. We want you to love your smile, because it’s a little easier to hang out with someone/something you love.
That’s why it’s important to know what your smile does for you.
- Your smile stimulates your brain. According to Psychology Today, “Each time you smile, you throw a little feel-good party in your brain. The act of smiling activates neural messaging that benefits your health and happiness.”
- Your smile helps you read other people’s motives. Studies have found that “mimicking a smile and experiencing it physically helps us interpret how genuine a smile is, so that we can understand the real emotional state of the smiler.” In other words, when you return a smile, you actually pick up whether the person you’re interacting with is sincere. That’s pretty cool.
- Your smile helps you feel safer and frees you to relax. (That’s why yoga teachers will often encourage you to smile while you’re doing a routine.)
So, we’re not here to guilt you into “smiling” by telling you a bunch of reasons that you “should” smile. We actually just want you to feel like your smile is actually on your side: making you more free, more aware, and safer.
As your oral healthcare professionals, we want to help you physically care for and maintain your smile, but your smile is all about you. You are you. And we’ll smile back.