How Smiling Affects Your Mental Health

May 31, 2022

benefits of smilingThere’s an old song that goes, “When you’re smiling, the whole world smiles with you.” And it’s true—smiling really can change your outlook on life. In fact, the act of smiling triggers your brain into releasing happiness hormones, relieving stress, and improving your state of mind. Let’s talk more about how smiling affects your mental health.

How Smiling Can Change Your Mood

The song “When You’re Smiling” encourages you to make a conscious decision to smile. Believe it or not, turning a frown upside down can actually change your emotions. Because your brain processes emotions based on your facial movements, smiling really can lift your mood.

When you smile, your brain always reacts the same way. It doesn’t matter whether you’re smiling because you’re amused, because someone smiled at you, or because you simply choose to smile. Smiling tells your brain that you’re feeling good.

Here’s what happens when you smile:

First, smiling makes your brain release neuropeptides, the messengers that tell your body how you’re feeling. They tell your brain that you’re happy, and signal it to release dopamine, endorphins, and serotonin, the neurotransmitters that make you feel good.

Just by smiling, you can reduce your stress levels, relax your body, lower your heart rate, and boost your mood. In fact, a smile acts just like an antidepressant. So, the next time you’re brushing your teeth, give yourself a smile—it’s good for your mental health.

When You Smile, the World Smiles with You

Smiling actually is contagious! When you smile, other people will automatically smile back. In fact, it takes conscious effort NOT to return a smile. Because of the way our brains work, it’s really difficult to frown when someone else is smiling right at you.

By smiling, you’re not only lifting your own spirits, you could be making someone else’s day better, too. When they smile back at you, their brain will go through the same process of releasing feel-good neurotransmitters, and you get the added reward that spreading happiness brings.

Your Smile Is Attractive

Smiling can even make you better looking. Psychological studies show that people rate the attractiveness of smiling people higher than the attractiveness of people who aren’t smiling. A smile can totally change the way someone else perceives you—when you smile, other people will automatically think you’re a happier, more confident, more trustworthy person.

Have you been avoiding sharing your smile because you’re worried about the appearance of your teeth? Don’t let stained or crooked teeth get you down! When you get the restorative or cosmetic dental work you need, it can help improve your mental health as well. If you’re confident in your smile, you’ll start grinning more often, and the more often you smile, the happier you’ll feel.

Does Your Smile Need a Touch-Up?

This Mental Health Awareness Month, give yourself a reason to smile—a professional cleaning or whitening treatment will help make your grin shine even brighter. Schedule an appointment with the smile experts at Lowry Mainstreet Dental today! We love making our patients smile.