Doesn’t it make you smile when you see someone you love smile? Smiling is contagious and downright joyous. Smiling also has direct benefits for your well-being.

Whether you’re a smirker, a toothy grinner, or a beaming smiler, this infectious facial expression can be your best defense against aging and illness. That’s because of its incredible benefits for mental and physical health. Smiling is easy and requires minimal effort, yet, we often forget to grace others with our beautiful smiles, especially as we age.

Did you know that children smile approximately 400 times daily, whereas the average happy adult only smiles about 40-50 times daily? It makes sense that children have fewer worries and more reasons to smile, but being conscious about the benefits may encourage you to show your pearly whites more often. Smiling makes us feel good. Smiling makes others feel good. As a Utah Family Dentist, we know that a smile goes a mile!

In addition to a significant mood boost, smiling releases endorphins and cortisol in our bodies, also known as the “happy chemicals.” Cortisol and endorphins offer the following benefits:

  • Lower blood pressure
  • Minimized pain
  • Elevated endurance
  • Reduced stress
  • Stronger immune system
  • Increased approachability
  • Greater positivity

Studies show that those who smile often are more likable and taken more seriously. Frequent smilers also tend to be more courteous and competent. Furthermore, they tend to be productive workers and make more money than those who don’t smile as often. It’s worth a try. Try to be conscious about your smiling and make a goal to smile more. Start by waking up every morning and starting your day with a big smile. You’ll notice your smile’s positive impact on yourself and those around you. When you smile more, it’s contagious and creates a domino effect on those around you.

Smile Your Way to a Healthier Life

(Jamie Brown/Unsplash)

Here are Five Ways to Challenge Yourself to Smile More Often

1. Use Sticky Notes

How would we remember anything without sticky notes, am I right? Well, how about using sticky notes as an encouragement to smile? One way you can use these notes is by gathering a handful of them and writing down things that make you smile. Stick the notes all around where you can see them.

2. Make a Smile Collage on Social Media

We use social media for everything anyway, so why not create collages of your favorite memories and times when you were smiling, so you can relive the moments and keep that smile going? Keep reminding yourself that you have plenty of reasons to smile. This practice will help to build gratitude, which inevitably helps us smile more.

3. Smile at Others in Traffic

If you catch yourself in traffic, instead of avoiding eye contact with the car next to you at all costs, try smiling and see if they smile back. Don’t blame us if they don’t smile back; some people are grumpy. But chances are, you’ll get a reciprocal smile.

4. Count Your Smiles

Up for a challenge? Try counting how many different smiles you have. Scientists have calculated that the average person has 19 different ways of smiling. Do you have more or less? Take a picture of your different smiles. Those photos will elicit…you guessed it…more smiles!

5. Passerby Challenge

Sometimes we’re afraid to smile at strangers because we fear they’ll think we’re weird or reject us by not reciprocating the smile. But either way, you will reap the health benefits of smiling more. Try to smile at every person you walk by. See if they smile back! You’re sure to make someone’s day.

Three Primary Smile Types

  • Reward: One of the smile types we use most often is a reward smile. This genuine smile shows happiness, acceptance, contentment, and overall positivity.
  • Affiliation: This type of smile communicates good intention, trustworthiness, social connection, compassion, and a sense of belonging.
  • Dominance: This type of smile might send chills down our spines. It conveys superiority, contempt, or disgust. This type of smile causes others to feel stress. Think of classical villains such as Cruella De Vil and Ursula. They’ve mastered the “dominance smile.” We recommend that you steer away from the dominance smile. Even if it makes you feel good, it’s not great for others, and everyone benefits when niceness prevails.

Although smiling is often an involuntary reaction to something, it can also be a conscious choice. And choosing to make smiling (the nice kind, that is) a priority in your daily life can do wonders for your emotional and physical well-being.

If your teeth are keeping you from smiling more, contact our Davis County cosmetic dentistry team. We can help turn any kind of smile into a beautiful one. Contact us to set up an appointment at our Layton or West Haven location.