We smile because we’re happy, but some research suggests that the reverse could be true, too. According to a study at the University of Kansas, the physical act of smiling might make us feel happier.
Your brain always monitors and responds to what the rest of your body is doing. It’s generally easier to control your muscles than to control your emotions, so you may be able to trick your brain into feeling happy by putting a smile on your face. Smiling is known to reduce cortisol and adrenaline, which are both stress hormones. It also increases levels of endorphins, which are brain chemicals that lift your mood and make you feel good.
In the study at the University of Kansas, researchers arranged participants’ faces into several different expressions. Some participants had a neutral expression, some had a normal smile, and some had a Duchenne smile, which is a genuine smile that engages the eyes as well as the mouth. Then, the researchers had the participants multitask in different stressful situations. They monitored the participants’ heart rates and asked them about their stress levels. The participants believed that the study was about multitasking, so they wouldn’t give any skewed reports.
The researchers found that those who smiled had lower heart rates than those with a neutral expression. Those with Duchenne smiles had the lowest heart rates of all the participants. Even though all the subjects participated in the same stressful activities, those who smiled seemed to be less stressed.
Another study in Wales showed a similar result. The researchers observed women who had Botox and physically couldn’t frown and compared them to women who had never received Botox. They found that the women who were unable to frown were less anxious and depressed than those who could frown.
A study from Boston College showed another interesting discovery about smiling. In this study, the researchers showed the participants pictures of people who were supposedly guilty of academic violations. The participants suggested lighter punishments for those who were smiling in their photos and harsher punishments for those who frowned or had neutral expressions.
All of these studies show the numerous benefits of smiling. You’ll feel less anxious and stressed, and people may trust you more. Unfortunately, though, not everyone is confident enough in their smile to show it all the time. People with malocclusion or misaligned teeth may want to hide their smile instead of showing it off.
If you’re not confident in your smile, you should consider getting orthodontic treatment. Many people think that braces are only for teenagers, but more adults than ever are currently undergoing treatment to straighten their teeth and restore their self-confidence. There are a wide variety of orthodontic treatments available for adults that are less noticeable than traditional braces.
Removable clear aligners like Invisalign are also an option for many types of misalignment, and they’re almost completely invisible. You can take them out while you eat and drink, so they don’t cause any dietary limitations. Lingual braces are another popular option for adults. They attach to the back side of the teeth, so no one can see them. You could also get clear ceramic braces, which match the color of your teeth better than metal.
Smiling can do wonders for your emotional health, and nobody deserves to be ashamed of their smile. If you have misaligned teeth, you should contact Dr. Escott at Escott Orthodontics to discuss possible treatment options. We have two convenient orthodontics locations to serve Central Florida, in Orlando and Lake County.