Did you know that smiling can have a huge effect on your mood? It is often a fake it till you make it situation. By smiling, you can improve your mood and feel happier and more confident. The effect that a smile can have is truly astounding; this is because there is a lot happening in your brain when you smile. The brain processes emotions and regulates moods and smiling can be an invaluable tool. This isn't to mention that smiles play a huge role in how others perceive you too. Read on to find out more.
The Science Behind Smiling
There is more to smiling than meets the eye. Smiling is actually a part of an intricate process which involves other parts of the brain and body. The truth is that smiles don't necessarily communicate how a person is feeling either, they can be used to hide a person's true feelings. For the most part, there tends to be three different forms of smiles: emotional, social and spontaneous.
Firstly, emotional smiles are largely seen as the most genuine form of smile because they occur naturally without any effort on the part of the person. They tend to be an unconscious reaction to the release of oxytocin the body experiences when feeling strong emotions like happiness. Next, there are social smiles, which, as the name suggests, are used when interacting with others. They can either be fake or genuine, depending on the situation, but they can colour the interaction and affect your mood too.
Lastly, there are spontaneous smiles, and again they tend to be the most genuine. These smiles happen in reaction to an external stimulus. It could be a comment made by a friend, a funny TikTok or a meme on Twitter. The brain releases dopamine which then makes you happy and produces a smile. The brain and body form a partnership when it comes to regulating moods. Your smile can have a profound effect on your self-esteem and your moods in general.
The Link Between Smiling & Your Self-Esteem
As previously mentioned, smiling can boost your mood, whether they are genuine or not. This is because smiles have an effect on the brain, it triggers a release of serotonin which can make a person feel happier. Smiling upon the completion of a task whether personally, professionally, or academically can make you feel less stressed and increase your satisfaction with yourself and your work in completing the task – whatever it may be. Smiling is also proven to trigger a release of dopamine which is a chemical associated with feelings of pleasure. To put it simply, smiling triggers both an emotional response and a physiological boost.
Smiles are a universal language; they are one of the most meaningful ways in which people are able to communicate with others. Smiling at another person helps to forge a connection with them because they often then mirror the expression back to you. In addition, it sends them a message that says that you are a happy and friendly person. This makes other people more likely to approach you and want to interact with you, encouraging friendships to develop.
In addition to the social and mental implications of a smile, it is also intrinsically linked to your self-esteem. Smiling in general and smiling at yourself can make you feel more confident and successful. When you like your smile and smile often, it can boost how you feel about yourself, making you more comfortable with your appearance and other people's perception of you.
Common Criticisms of Smiles
Unfortunately, not everyone likes their teeth, and when you don't like the appearance of your teeth, it can make you unwilling to smile. There are several common reasons that most people tend to cite for why they dislike the appearance of their smile. It comes down to cosmetics, most of the time. They think their teeth aren't straight or white enough. They have too much gum showing when they smile, or they suffer from decalcification spots. Luckily, these are all things that can be fixed.
Improving Your Smile
It is worth pointing out that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, just because your smile doesn't look like your favourite celebrity it doesn't mean that your smile isn't worth seeing. However, if you want to improve your smile for yourself, then you should. Changing your smile can dramatically affect your self-esteem. So think about where your issue with your smile lies; there are solutions out there for you.
Starting with crooked teeth. Unfortunately, adults are not eligible for braces or orthodontal procedures on the NHS – unless their issue is having significant effects on their health. However, there are other options. For example, you can choose to purchase clear aligners to put your teeth back in alignment. There are a number of brands and companies out there to choose from, including Straight My Teeth, which has several options for those looking to straighten their teeth and improve their smiles.
Next, whiter teeth, which is a common desire for a lot of people. Again, there are easy enough solutions, and whitening your teeth can help minimise the look of any decalcification spots. While there is a number of at-home whitening kits that you could try for the best results, you should really have your teeth whitened professionally by your dentist. It can be pricey, but it does yield the best results. After you have had your teeth whitened, you should avoid things that can stain your teeth immediately after. You should also start to implement a better cleaning routine for your teeth going forward in order to prevent them from getting as stained again.
Finally, if your complaint is that you have too much of a ‘gummy' smile, there are several procedures that you could consider. However, these procedures tend to be far more expensive, and they are also painful and invasive. This is because, for the most part, the procedure involves cutting away a portion of your gum in order to show more of the tooth, making them look longer.
Building Your Self Confidence
Make no mistake, attempting to build your self-confidence up is a long process. There are no quick fixes. In fact, for most people, it is a lifelong pursuit. The best thing that you can do to improve your self-confidence is simply to treat yourself with more kindness. Stop disparaging yourself and putting yourself down. Instead, just be nice to yourself. Wear what you want to wear, do what you want to do. Stop giving other people's opinions of you so much power. Smile at yourself in the mirror more. It has already been established that smiles are contagious, and they have mood-boosting effects. Therefore, smiling at yourself can actually help to make you feel happier, and it is an important aspect of treating yourself kindly.
The Bottom Line
Having your idea of the perfect smile can dramatically affect your self-confidence and allow you to build your self-esteem. There are other ways that you can use to build your self-confidence, which you might like to try too. Smiling, in and of itself, can do wonders for your emotional wellbeing. Try to do your best to smile more often, and if you want to improve your smile, you should – as long as you are doing it for the right reasons.