Throughout our lives we’re trained to smile as a result of something. Someone tells you a joke? You smile. Somebody gives you a compliment? You smile. It’s a reaction, not an action. What if switching the order around a bit could make you happier though? What if smiling before something happens could make your life better?
As it turns out, science shows that this is a good idea.
Smiling Increases Happiness
While we like to think of scientists as old guys in white coats testing chemicals in beakers and Bunsen burners but often times that’s not what’s happening. It turns out there are more than a few studies related to smiling, and the results are encouraging. In this study, researchers had participants hold a pencil in their mouth to give them one of three facial expressions: one of smiling, one of frowning, and a control group with no expression. Those who had the pencil forcing them to smile rated a series of cartoons significantly funnier than the other two groups.
Another study focused on having participants fill out a questionnaire about anxiety and depression. The researches specifically included several women with facial Botox injections, which made it more difficult for them to frown. The study concluded that these women who had a more difficult time frowning reported less anxiety, stress and depression than the other groups of women.
And there are plenty more. Intensive research shows that we don’t smile because we’re happy – we’re happy because we’re smiling.
Smiling Decreases Pain
Researchers have also discovered a very interesting link between smiling and pain. In one study, participants were subjected to an uncomfortable amount of heat being applied to their arms while making one of three facial expressions: smiling, frowning and neutral – same as above. Those who were smiling reported less pain than the other two groups.
Another study concluded that the actions of smiling and laughing lowered cortisol levels in your blood stream. Cortisol is a hormone that’s heavily connected to stress so by simply smiling or laughing the chemical elements that make you feel stress were removed from your body.
So if you’re feeling a bit of pain and don’t want to, just crack a grin. It’ll help more than you think.
Tips For A Better Smile
We’d be remiss if we didn’t include just a few tips to make those pearly whites just a tiny bit whiter. Below are three pro-tips on how to improve your smile:
- Oral Care: The number one (by far) thing that you can do to keep your pretty smile pretty is to regularly take care of your teeth. Make sure you’re bushing twice a day, flossing and rinsing. It doesn’t take long, and it’s not hard, so do it!
- Your Diet: As it turns out, a surprising number of foods and drinks can stain your teeth. Things like coffee, tea, wine, fruit and sugary stuff can make contribute significantly to how white your teeth are. Try to limit those foods and you’ll see your smile get a bit whiter!
- Whitening Products: Finally, there’s always the option of using some whitening products. Yes, they can be a bit expensive but they really do work. Check out our full guides on whitening kits and whitening strips for more info on what to expect.
There are all sorts of big changes we can make in our lives to improve our happiness, but smiling more is something that’s incredibly simple. You don’t need to spend any money, time or even extra energy. Seriously, it takes less energy to smile. So start smiling more. It’ll literally make you happier!