We’ve all heard that laughter is the best medicine, but science suggests that a fake smile can be a competitive runner-up.
Fake it till you make it.
Sure, genuine laughter and real smiles are recommended, but what do you do when you don’t feel like smiling, and you’re too down to laugh? Fake it till you make it!
In 2012, Kansas researchers conducted a rather unusual study using chopsticks. Participants were asked to hold a pair of chopsticks in their mouth a certain way, which contracted the same facial muscles used to create a real smile. The experiment was divided into three groups:
People who held the chopsticks in their mouth
People who smiled with the chopsticks in their mouth
People who didn’t use chopsticks or smile
The test subjects were asked to complete a stressful task, and those who held the chopsticks in their mouth showed a substantial reduction in heart rate compared to those who didn’t. The chopstick users also had a much quicker stress recovery. Those who held the chopsticks in their mouth and smiled showed even better test results than the other two test groups.
The study was groundbreaking and proved that even a fake grin is significantly more beneficial than no smile at all. But reduced heart rate and better stress recovery were just the beginning.
Happy by habit.
Author of The Happiness Advantage, Shawn Achor, claims that frequent smiling retrains your brain for happiness and encourages positive thinking. He compares a happy life to a fit life and explains that our brains need just as much training as our bodies do to reach our goals. Not a bad analogy, considering that a smile releases the same feel-good endorphins that cause the “runner’s high” we experience after a good workout. And as we read earlier, a fake smile does the trick just as well!
Fake smile, happy family.
It’s all too easy to get caught up in the stress and worry of our day-to-day routines, even when you’re doing all you can to break the busy-body habits and live with intention. No matter the weight of your day, bring a smile home to your family every single day. When you dawn a smile before you walk through the door, not only are you forcing your mind and body to become happier, but you’re also tricking your family into being happier too.
As human beings, we possess something called mirror neurons, and their purpose is in the name. When we see someone stub their toe, we cringe with them. When we see someone slipping on a patch of ice, our heart skips a beat with theirs. Without us even knowing it, our mirror neurons reflect the actions and feelings of those around us.
Smiling is contagious. It’s not just a figure of speech; It’s factual. When you fake a smile, your mind and body react positively. When you fake a smile at someone else, they smile in return, and they experience the same benefits.
And you won’t believe the benefits that a simple grin has to offer your mind, your body, and your loved ones.
Healthy is as happy does.
It’s a pretty bold statement, one that pessimists are sure to scoff at and optimists are bound to spread, but it’s true. If we’re speaking of optimism, it should be mentioned that happy people live longer than those who are generally less cheerful and that fact backs this section. Yes. Fact.
According to countless studies, people who consider themselves happy have a lower heart rate, lower levels of cortisol (the stress hormone,) lower concentrations of a plasma associated with heart disease, and are less likely to experience diabetes, heart attacks, and strokes.
Biochemist Sondra Barrett has explained how our attitudes affect our bodies on a cellular level. Our thoughts have the power to directly affect our cell function because our thoughts become actions and our actions become habit. Among other things, cell mutations are often caused by stress and can lead to the development of various cancers. When we fake a smile, we retrain our brains to be happy and encourage positive thinking. When we’re happy, our bodies are more capable of combating stress-induced health risks.
We think you can see where this is going. It’s a cheerful fact that you can become happy by habit when you fake a smile.
But what if I don’t like my smile?
A study conducted by the NCBI showed that 53% of individuals with minor to major dental problems demonstrated poor self-esteem. Individuals who are ashamed or embarrassed by their dental abnormalities such as missing, stained, or broken teeth are far less likely to smile than those who love their grin, and that’s an unfortunate truth.
Even though you are your greatest investment, the price of dental work can be daunting or even impossible for some. What most don’t know is that behind many costly dental procedures, there’s a line of affordable alternative options. At Olympus View Dental, we place great importance on giving our patients a smile worth smiling about, which is why we provide our dental discount plan in addition to a whole variety of cosmetic treatments. Call our Utah dental office to craft a solution that works for you and your budget, because your mind, body, and loved ones could use the boost of your grin.