7 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Smiling

Smiling is a way we connect with other people and express joy. Now, more than ever, it’s so important to smile and spread positivity. You might be surprised to learn all that goes into this seemingly simple facial expression and just how powerful of an act it can be. Considering Dr. Hawley is a Papillion orthodontist, we’re all about smiles here at Hawley Orthodontics and we’re sharing some fun facts about smiling you may not know.

Smiling can trick your brain into feeling happier and improve your health.

Studies show smiling kicks off a chemical reaction in the brain causing it to release feel-good hormones like dopamine and serotonin. These hormones make us feel happier and reduce depression and aggression. Even if you’re down, forcing yourself to smile tricks your brain into thinking something positive is happening and improves your mood. 

In fact, one study by the University of Cardiff in Wales looked at people who couldn’t frown because of Botox injections and found they were happier than those who could frown. On the other hand, those who had their crow’s feet treated, felt more depressed because it interfered with having a genuine smile. So, the bottom line, keep on smiling even when you don’t feel like it. Or, especially when you don’t feel like it!

Smiling really is contagious.

Another of our interesting facts about smiling is that when someone smiles at us (or frowns for that matter) research reveals that a thing called “sensorimotor simulation” in our brains causes us to mimic the expression without even realizing it. Why? It helps us understand what the other person is feeling and triggers that same emotional state. Since smiling elicits positive feelings, it’s nice to mimic a smile as opposed to a frown.

 Smiling helps you manage stress and could improve your health.

One of the biggest benefits of smiling is that it’s a stress-reliever. A study gave participants stress-inducing activities to do and had them hold chopsticks in their mouths in a way that engaged the facial muscles in neutral expressions, standard smiles and Duchenne smiles (real smiles that also engage the muscles around the eyes). Those who had smiling expressions, particularly Duchenne smiles, had lower heart rate levels and recovered more quickly from the stressful activities. By lowering stress and boosting mood, your cortisol is also decreased, which can improve your health and immune system.

 Smiling is one of a baby’s first facial expressions.

4D scanning has shown some babies smile when they’re in the womb. Doctors think it may be a reflex in preparation for birth. While babies don’t start smiling in response to stimuli until between six to 12 weeks of age, they often reflexively smile in their sleep as soon as they enter the world.

Smiling could be tied to longevity.

No list of fun facts about smiles would be complete without a mention of the study that looked at the players’ smiles on baseball cards from the 1952 Major League Baseball season. The degree or intensity of each player’s smile was coded, ranging from no smile to a partial smile to a Duchenne smile (a full, genuine smile that involves the eyes). The players who didn’t smile lived an average of 72.9 years, those who had a partial smile lived an average of 75 years, and the players with a full Duchenne smile lived an average of 79.9 years! 

There are 19 types of smiles.

Research suggests there are 19 types of smiles. These smiles reflect a whole range of emotions. Categories include a flirtatious smile, a Duchenne smile, an embarrassed smile and even a fake smile.

Smiling can help you seem more intelligent.

Researchers showed participants pictures of people’s faces and had them rate them for intelligence. The “high intelligence” faces were smiling more often than the “low intelligence” faces. So, if you want to make yourself look more intelligent, which could help you get ahead at work, try smiling. The smiling subjects were also rated more attractive, which is an added bonus!

We hope you enjoyed these fun facts about smiling. If you want to get your own confident, healthy smile, schedule a complimentary consultation at Hawley Orthodontics today by giving us a call at (402) 592-3200! Or, if you’d like to get started from the comfort of your own home, we also offer virtual consultations

 

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