Having a smile on your face is a universal indicator of positivity and happiness, but what are you missing out on by choosing not to smile?
A consistent smile can make your life long-lasting and fulfilling in many different ways, from improving your mental and physical health to attracting positive people and career progression.
Your smile is an important habit that can improve your life overall. Think about the things you might miss out on by not smiling.
Reasons for Not Smiling
A person’s smile is a good indicator of their emotional and physical health, while also showing the individual is approachable and kind. But there are many reasons why some people choose not to smile.
An individual’s oral health is often the main reason why someone chooses not to smile. Discoloured teeth, bad breath, and skewed teeth are all reasons to be self-conscious of your smile. Maybe there’s an infected tooth or lesion inside their mouth, giving them intense pain every time they smile – it’s enough to put anyone off.
It’s also worth considering the psychological reasons why people refrain from smiling. Perhaps they have low self-esteem, caused by body image issues or mental health conditions, such as depression or anxiety.
Looking after yourself and your body has a trickle-down effect on society that you may not realize. In Norway, we have a public health care system up to the age of 18, then receive financial support for certain treatments and procedures. Regardless, the cost of visiting a dentist can sometimes be stressful. If there were more government funding for dentist treatments, fewer people would avoid making an appointment for their problems. Often, small dental issues can swiftly turn into major problems, costly and painful to fix. If patients had access to affordable or free dental care, there would be fewer individuals on sick leave with dental issues, thus a more productive workspace and more income tax to be directed into other sectors.
As a response to the Norwegian Government’s budget cuts in the dental care sector, oslotannlegesenter.no has offered their patients the opportunity to earn an impressive discount when they refer their friends and family as new patients. Hopefully it could prove to be inspiring to others in the same business.
This project is making waves in lower-income communities where dental care has been neglected because of the financial burdens it presents.
Good for your Mental Health
Consistently getting out of bed with a smile on your face has more benefits than we realize, especially on your mental health.
Studies show that forcing yourself to smile during an unpleasant task or situation can increase your positivity towards the task. Charles Darwin even theorized this in The Origin of Species, writing about facial feedback response theory. This theory states that the act of smiling “makes us feel better rather than smiling being merely a result of feeling good”. Studies in recent years have backed up this claim. Psychologists at the University of Cardiff in Wales found that people who had received Botox treatments, which stiffens the face and makes frowning more difficult, reported being happier than non-Botoxed people.
When we smile, even if it’s forced, the brain releases serotonin, which acts as a natural anti-depressant. This will reduce your stress levels and overall blood pressure, improving your overall health.
Good for your Physical Health
We know smiling can have a positive effect on your mental health, but a smile can have some surprising benefits to your physical health.
As previously mentioned, the endorphins released when smiling can help lower your blood pressure, boost your immune system, and reduce stress. Endorphins can also act as a pain reliever, which resembles pain medications like morphine.
They even scientifically proved smiling can help you live longer and healthier. Research conducted at Wayne State University in 2010 looked at the lifespans of Major League baseball players, from pre-1950, based on their photo on their trading cards. They found that the “span of a player’s smile could actually predict the span of his life. Players that didn’t smile in their photo lived an average of only 72.9 years, whereas players with beaming smiles lived an average of almost 80 years.”
This proves that maintaining a bright smile can add years to your life – that’s more time to enjoy with your family and enjoying a hard-earned retirement.
Smiling is Contagious
Have you ever found your mood instantly lifts around a positive, smiling person? It’s surprisingly difficult to frown when looking at a smiling person, as studies at Uppsala University in Sweden suggest that smiling is evolutionarily contagious, suppressing the control we have on our facial muscles. With a consistent, cheerful smile on your face, you can project positivity onto others around you. Why wouldn’t you choose to lift the moods of those around you?
A Universal Language
A smile is a gesture that transcended all language barriers, a universal language that we all can speak. This makes a smile a valuable commodity when traveling, as a smile is the first step in communicating kindness with people, especially when there is a language barrier.
Before they can even speak, babies respond to smiling parents. Advances in 4D ultrasound technology have shown that babies even smile in the womb, way before birth. As previously thought, babies could not smile until six weeks after birth, learned from copying the smiles of their parents. This shows that smiling is a natural reflex which all humans recognise, as Professor Stuart Campbell says that this “may show the baby’s calm, trouble-free existence in the womb and the relatively traumatic first few weeks after birth, when the baby is reacting to a strange, new environment”. Without a bright smile, your baby would still develop their own smile, but miss out on sharing them with you.
Makes you more attractive
Not only does smiling improve your mental and physical health, it does wonders for the way others perceive you. A bright smile can increase the appearance of trustworthiness, creating the illusion of openness and integrity. This will improve your perception to others, making them more likely to listen to your input and appreciate your cheerfulness in the workplace. A recent study by Penn State University found that when you smile, particularly in the workplace, you appear more competent and likable. Without your smile, you might miss out on that big promotion you’ve worked hard for or compromise your working relationship with your colleagues!
Smiling even makes you look more attractive. According to a study conducted by a dating app, Coffee Meets Bagel, women who don’t smile in their profile photos are only ‘liked’ 17% of the time. We are naturally drawn to those who smile, while using the opposite facial expressions – such as a frown or scowl – will do more to push people away from you. People will naturally assume you’re a positive person to be around if you have a smile on your face. So if you’re searching for the one, whether in the bar or with a dating profile, keep looking your best with a smile on your face.
Overall, your smile is the most valuable asset you have. Not only is smiling beneficial for your mental and physical health, but as the way you present yourself to the world.
Maintaining your smile with a positive attitude and appropriate dental care is a worthwhile investment.
Having a bright smile on your face is an easy and free way to build confidence and improve your relationship with those around you. Your smile shows the world that you are caring and passionate. Without a smile, your life wouldn’t be as successful or fulfilling. Maybe now is the time to take the right steps to perfect your attitude towards your smile.