Laughter might be the best medicine, but what’s a laugh without a smile? Believe it or not, turning that frown upside down can positively impact your health.
A number of studies have shown that smiling can potentially reduce pain, alleviate anxiety, and even improve your immune system. Don’t believe us? Keep reading to learn the health benefits you gain from smiling.
Have you ever heard of the facial feedback hypothesis? Have no fear if not! We’re here to tell you all about it. This concept comes from the belief that facial expressions both show our emotions while also directly affecting these emotions.
Smiling makes us use specific muscles in our faces. When our brains realize this movement, it causes our bodies to release endorphins, dopamine, and serotonin, which are known as “feel-good” neurotransmitters. They can improve your mood and relieve stress, which shows the facial feedback hypothesis at work.
A study at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville helped further prove this hypothesis. They used a technique called meta-analysis, in which they combined data from multiple different studies that tested over 10 thousand patients from all over the world over the past 50 years. They discovered that our facial expressions impact our feelings, i.e., smiling makes us happy, and frowning makes us sad.
Smiling might not be an end-all-be-all cure, but their findings help us see how much our mind and body work together and affect us physically and emotionally.
How can smiling reduce pain?
Endorphins are proven to have pain-relief benefits. A study conducted at the University of California, Irvine analyzed various types of emotions and how they impacted the extent of the participant’s discomfort. The researchers observed pain levels and reactions to a needle injection. They discovered that those who smiled while receiving the injection experienced half the level of pain compared to those who did not smile.
How can smiling alleviate stress or anxiety?
More often than not, anxiety and stress are a package deal. Stress causes anxiety for some people, and anxiety causes stress for others.
As we all know, smiling prompts our brains to release endorphins, but it also triggers our brains to release neuropeptides. Neuropeptides are small proteins that can help physically lessen stress. A study at the University of Kansas found that smiling reduced the intensity of the subject’s stress responses, regardless of whether the person was actually happy at the moment.
How can smiling strengthen my immune system?
Now more than ever, individuals are looking for ways to strengthen their immune systems and avoid getting sick. Little do they know that smiling more can help! Positive thinking and laughing can increase immune responses. Smiling and laughing can help raise the cell levels in our immune systems and boost the antibodies that fight infection. By doing so, we’re less prone to disease.
If you’re looking to improve your health, let’s start with your smile! Located in Lancaster, PA, Smiles by Stevens is here to create confidence, one smile at a time. Cosmetic dentistry not only helps improve your smile, but also helps improve your life in more ways than one.
Contact us today to put a smile on your face, which we all know is good for your health!