It’s an old truism: “smile and the whole world smiles with you, cry and you’re crying alone.”
Now researchers have found that this is really true, partly because when you’re smiling, you think other people are, too, even if they’re not.
Researchers working in Britain and Spain found that smiling changes how our brain processes people’s expressions. To discover this, researchers used EEG (electroencephalogram) to measure how people’s brains responded to expressions in pictures when their own facial expressions changed. Twenty-five volunteers were asked to either smile, purse their lips, or maintain a neutral expression, then were shown pictures of faces that were either smiling or neutral.
When people were either pursing their lips or maintaining a neutral expression, they processed pictures of neutral and smiling faces differently. But when they were smiling, their brains responded to the neutral expressions as if they were positive expressions.
This is yet another reminder of the power of smiling. When you smile, you not only improve your mood, but you put a more positive spin on the things that you see, which can have a dramatic impact on how you interact with others at work or in social situations. And smiling is contagious, so flashing a smile might make people smile back, too.
So if you think you’re not in friendly company, maybe the problem isn’t their perception of you, it’s your perception of them. Just try a smile–it looks prettier than makeup, and you don’t have to apply it in the car if you sleep in–and see what changes.
But what if you don’t feel comfortable smiling? If you’re unhappy with the appearance of your smile because of discolored, crooked, or damaged teeth, the prospect of smiling more might make you nervous or uncomfortable.
If you’re really unhappy with your smile, we offer a wide range of cosmetic dentistry procedures that can help you smile, and enjoy the benefits of smiling.