The Anatomy of a Smile - How It Affects Your Mind and Body

Smile AM

 An attractive smile can make an immediate impactful first impression and sends a signal that reveals one's confidence, optimism, and friendliness.

Studies have proven that smiling can also benefit your health. Studies have revealed how smiling can enhance mood and even prolong life span, since its complex muscle interactions involve several of them.

Smile AM: Mind and Body Impact

Singers from Frank Sinatra to Katy Perry have long championed that "if you smile and the world smiles with you, crying alone," and now researchers from the University of South Australia report that simply moving facial muscles to create a smile--even fake one--can produce positive emotions and elevate mood. Smiling also increases approachability and makes you more approachable; therefore attracting and connecting with more people more easily.

Smile and your brain releases neuropeptides - chemical messengers that influence virtually every system in your body, such as immunity, blood flow, food intake, sleep cycles, and memory; stress levels, pain perception social behavior as well and happiness are also affected.

Smile science has existed for centuries, yet only recently has research begun proving its benefits. Scientists have identified that when you smile, your body releases feel-good chemicals called endorphins and serotonin which reduce stress and improve mood. Furthermore, smiling can make you appear more approachable, confident, and trustworthy which in turn may influence how others view you.

Researchers are investigating how various types of smiles influence behavior and interactions among individuals. Affiliative smiles foster trust and cooperation while dominant ones alter power dynamics during pivotal interactions like games and negotiations. A new study may help researchers gain a more thorough understanding of each smile type by offering precise physical descriptions for every type of grin.

Smiling can also be triggered by emotional stimuli, like receiving a compliment or seeing pictures of your children. Furthermore, people undergoing dental work tend to feel more emotionally exposed than usual and may respond by smiling more frequently as a response.

Smiling is a universal expression that's understood similarly across cultures, suggesting it's an instinctual human behavior. Smiling has both physical and psychological effects; moreover, smiling may help extend one's lifespan by contributing to physical health and mental wellbeing. So go ahead, smile!

Science of Smiling: Mental and Physical Effects

A smile may seem intangible, but scientific research shows that it can change your mood and make you happier. Smiling has also been proven to boost self-esteem and strengthen relationships. Smiling is also a form of communication with others - it acts like yawning: when someone else smiles around you, your brain instinctively mirrors their expression; thus making smiling an effective form of social cueing that encourages other people to reciprocate by mimicking it themselves - similar behavior has even been observed among our closest animal relatives such as chimpanzees!

When feeling sad, smiling can help by tricking your brain into believing you're happy. Facial muscles trigger the release of neurotransmitters which make us feel good - endorphins, serotonin, and dopamine all provide relaxation benefits while making us more productive by decreasing stress levels and increasing energy.

A smile is an iconic facial expression used in multiple cultures around the world to communicate happiness, respect, and trust. Researchers are trying to gain more insight into its various types by studying the different muscle groups involved. So far they've discovered three categories: Affiliative smiles; Dominance smiles and Neutral expressions which scientists are trying to classify so they can study how they impact human interactions.

Duchenne de Boulogne conducted extensive studies of the anatomy of smiles during the 19th century to establish how many muscle groups are involved and identified 17 facial muscles which activate when one smiles. Paul Ekman later expanded on this research and identified three distinct smile types - commissure, Mona Lisa, and canine smile - distinguished by different features: corner placement on mouth corners and movement of jaw muscles.

In order to create the Mona Lisa smile, your zygomatic major muscles pull your upper lip upward in a Cupid's bow shape while the orbicularis oculi muscles turn your mouth corners upward. In comparison, canine smiles are similar to commissure smiles except they lower corners of your mouth instead. A neutral expression results from lifting upper lips with push outward pressure from levator labii superioris muscles as well as pushing teeth outwards with their muscles.

Smiling Benefits: Mind and Body

Smiling sends your brain the signal that things are progressing well. Smiling causes muscles around your mouth to contract, often altering its shape symmetrically across both sides of your face. This change triggers neuropeptides which can reduce stress levels by decreasing levels of cortisol in your system and also help alleviate blood pressure by decreasing cortisol production in your body.

A smile can convey various emotions, from delight to approval and contentment. Conversely, false smiles used for deceiving or manipulating others may also use this gesture as an instrument of deception. Conversely, aggressive and contemptful smiles known as disgust smiles may also convey these emotions when combined with raised eyebrows and tightened jaw muscles.

When smiling, your teeth should reveal all of the following components: central incisors and upper premolars and canines should appear fully. In an ideal world, central incisors should mirror one another in terms of color (hue). Lower premolars should have darker hues while canines should show greater intensity or saturation (chroma). If your smile doesn't quite reach its potential brightness, veneers, which are thin slipcovers bonded directly onto natural teeth, may help extend them so more of it shows.

Laughing and smiling regularly can help strengthen your immune system, making you less susceptible to infections and illnesses. They also enhance confidence, boost work performance, and can increase job performance - researchers have even found that people who smile at coworkers tend to be more productive than those who don't!

As our lives get increasingly busy, it can be easy to let ourselves become bogged down with worry and self-criticism. By smiling more often and showing genuine care for others around you, your positive energy can spread and strengthen relationships.

On this episode of The Verywell Mind podcast, therapist Amy Morin, LCSW discusses how smiling can improve both mental and physical wellbeing.

Anatomy of Happiness: Smiling and Health

As soon as you smile, your brain releases an abundance of feel-good neurotransmitters like endorphins, dopamine and serotonin that work to create feelings of happiness, reduce stress levels and lower heart rate - as well as increase the production of white blood cells to fight infection - which in turn help fight depression naturally. Simply put: smiling is nature's way to combating it!

"Smile, and the world will follow suit" isn't just an old wives tale - scientific research backs this statement up! Researchers have discovered that seeing someone smile activates the orbitofrontal cortex of your brain which processes sensory rewards; when your mind perceives someone smiling it perceives this reward and responds accordingly; thus influencing how others treat you.

Smiling can help relax muscle tension in the jaw and face, alleviating headaches, stress levels and anxiety levels while increasing resilience against anxiety. Smiling can even help ease discomfort; hence the saying, "Grin and bear it." When in mild pain, smiling can actually prompt your brain to release more endorphins than if not smiling!

At the same time, it's essential that you smile sincerely - otherwise your inauthentic expression will come across as insincere and can actually worsen your mood. To ensure an authentic expression when smiling, engage all the muscles in your face (including those forming laugh lines around your eyes). For optimal results, smile until your cheeks lift and your muscles crinkle with each new smile - this should yield maximum benefits.

Smiling is one of the most powerful and versatile expressions we possess; it can establish new friendships, end arguments and improve overall health. On this episode of The Very Well Mind podcast hosted by Editor-in-Chief Amy Morin LCSW you'll learn more about happiness's effects on your body and start understanding why smiling truly is medicine.

Post a Comment

Post a Comment (0)

Previous Post Next Post