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The Psychological Study of Smiling

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Have you ever been in a bad mood, and someone comes around to say something amusing? You feel the frown on your face blossom into a smile, and for that moment, your worries are non-existent. That is what smiling does to you. Studies have shown that it is more beneficial to smile than to frown because when you smile, your muscles are relaxed and in better shape. 

Apart from the effect smiling has on the muscles, there are other benefits. These include psychological and physical health benefits. To create awareness on the need to smile more and encourage others to smile often, dentists in Liberty Village Dental and other dental clinics take it upon themselves to educate patients on the various reasons why choosing to smile instead of frowning is beneficial. 

Psychological benefits of smiling

 Why is it important to smile when I am not in a good mood? Well, although all it takes to frown are the edges of your lips turning downwards, there are effects you do not know about. They include; 

  • Frowning lowers your mood from happy to sad or angry. When you frown, it releases negative emotions that make you even angrier and livid. 
  • It portrays you as unfriendly and unapproachable. It also drives people away from you because you are seen as a ‘mood downer’.

On the other hand, when you smile, the following things happen:

Enhances positive emotions

Your brain releases endorphins, serotonin, dopamine, which are natural pain and stress relievers, into your blood system from your head to your tiptoe. These help to get rid of negative feelings, emotions, thoughts. 

This is why when you are in a terrible mood and your smile; you feel as if a heavyweight has been lifted from your shoulders. 

Reduces stress

Smiling helps to reduce stress, relieve fatigue, reduce anxiety and the risk of depression

Smiling cures physical pain

When your smile, your brain releases natural painkillers like endorphins which can be effective in curing minor issues in the body. It is known people who are sick and yet find reasons to smile often heal faster than others who are pessimistic and grumpy. 

Makes you approachable

People are naturally drawn to individuals that smile. I’m a gathering of unfamiliar people, and it is easier to walk up to the person with a smile on their face rather than someone who looks like they might punch you in the face.

Smiling is also contagious

You can bring a person out of a bad mood with just a single smile. 

  • Better relationships. Smiling helps us to build better relationships with people around us. It puts us in a better mood to spend more time with them, appreciate the things they do, have fun and make memories. A person who is constantly frowning, worried or livid had no time to appreciate the little things that matter around them.
  • Success. When you smile, you appear more confident, and this gives people the impression that you know exactly what you are doing – going for job appointments or a board meeting to submit a proposal? Try putting on a confidant smile and see the results. 

How smiling affects your physical health

As I earlier mentioned, smiling releases the body’s natural painkillers that can speed up recovery or heal minor illnesses. Other benefits include: 

  • Healthier skin. When you smile more often, it prevents wrinkles from forming on your face, causing prematurely old age. Smiling also gives the skin a glowing and younger look.
  • Reduces the risk of high blood pressure. It is known that when you are not at ease or stressed all the time, it causes high blood pressure. Smiling, however, alleviates your worries, eliminates stress, and ultimately lowers the risk of high blood pressure.
  • Life span. Maintaining a positive mood, cultivating the habit of smiling, studies have shown increases the lifespan of a human being.
  • Boosts the immune system. By promoting good overall body health, getting rid of sicknesses and diseases early on, smiling boosts our immune system. 
  • Ageing. A psychological effect of smiling is that it makes you look and feel younger. When you feel younger, de-stress, and maintain a positive outlook on things, you can easily avoid sicknesses that make people age quickly. 

On the other hand, frowning does the opposite:

  • It speeds up ageing. This is caused by the wrinkles formed on the face from constant frowning and the illness that will weigh you from too much stress. 
  • Rapid ageing also shortens your life span.
  • It weakens the immune system.


Apart from all the pros and advantages of smiling, it is also essential to know that this is different if you practice fake smiling. Fake smiling doesn’t ease your worries or take the stress away. When stressed, find a genuine reason to smile. Think about all the good things in your life and see the difference it’ll make in your smile.

Ellen Diamond did her degree in psychology at the University of Edinburgh. She is interested in mental health, wellness, and lifestyle.

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