What are the Benefits of Smiling and Laughing?

What are the benefits of smiling and laughing? According to numerous studies, there are all kinds of benefits to both. With routine dental and orthodontic care, you can be proud to show your smile. Thus, you can reap the benefits that come with more smiles, which naturally tend to lead to more laughter.

Smiles in Framingham loves helping people of all ages smile in Framingham, Southborough, Ashland, Wayland, Natick, Marlborough, Hopkinton, Holliston, and surrounding towns.

A Genuine Smile  

Some of the earliest smile studies date back to the 1800s and French neurologist Guillaume Duchenne. His work led to the phrase, “Duchenne smile,” an authentic, genuine smile. When you smile genuinely, the muscles around the eyes called the orbicularis oculi contract. Since we can’t control these muscles at will, it’s hard to fake a genuine smile.

If you see a Duchenne smile, it means that person is probably genuinely expressing happiness or contentment. Sometimes, a smile or laugh can take over our bodies, usually making for a positive memory (Unless it involves an embarrassing or awkward situation).

More recently, researchers focused on how people smile when engaging socially.

Conscious Smiling and Laughter

When we are in social situations, consciously smiling and laughing may be ways to facilitate positive communication. For example, it can tell others we like and respect them and help create a bond as part of the same group.

Smiling is universal welcome and laughter is universal across human cultures. When we are with others, we are far more likely to laugh.

“Studies have shown that people are more likely to laugh in response to a video clip with canned laughter than to one without a laugh track, and that people are 30 times more likely to laugh in the presence of others than alone,” reports the Association for Psychological Science.

By smiling on purpose, you may mirror others’ behavior and appear approachable. Of course, people are adept at detecting a fake smile from an early age, so there is a fine line. The more genuinely you smile, the more you may be perceived as truly prosocial. Similarly, people can usually detect if people they hear laughing are friends or strangers.

Strengthening Camaraderie and Social Bonds

In our friendships and relationships, more smiles and laughter can lead to stronger ties. Studies indicate that more time spent laughing together is associated with more support, better relationship quality, and closeness.

Incredible Benefits of Smiling and Laughing

By smiling more, research suggests you may live longer, age better, and enjoy life more. Notably, this includes both subconscious or are conscious smiles. So, there really is a benefit to smiling even when you don’t necessarily want to. By smiling, you can “trick your brain” into believing you are happy.

Similarly, you can encourage others to smile and laugh, passing on the contagious feeling.

According to NBC News, 

“Science has shown that the mere act of smiling can lift your mood, lower stress, boost your immune system and possibly even prolong your life.”

According to Forbes, smiling more often can also translate to more success and happiness professionally.

Smiling Releases Endorphins and Neuropeptides

By smiling, it tells our bodies to release endorphins, dopamine, and serotonin. So, it can help us reduce stress and depression, strengthening our immune system. 

“Dopamine increases our feelings of happiness. Serotonin release is associated with reduced stress. Low levels of serotonin are associated with depression and aggression,” says neurologist Dr. Isha Gupta. “Low levels of dopamine are also associated with depression.”

Also, smiling tells the brain to release tiny molecules called neuropeptides which help fight off stress.

More Health and Happiness 

As an added benefit, smiling can lower our heart rate and lower blood pressure. Over time, it can change the way you think and feel, too, helping you avoid feeling burned out. Even smiling at yourself in the mirror can help reduce feeling tense or anxious.

Similarly, laughter helps stimulate circulation and the organs and enhance oxygen intake, which can help you relax. Studies of people with a strong sense of humor suggest they tend to be much less susceptible to heart disease (for women) and infection (both men and women).

Humorously, Scientific American reported:

“The gender differences could be due to a slight decline in humor scores as the men aged, the authors suggest.”

Notably, learning to laugh more at yourself can also help one’s outlook, whatever the age.

We love seeing our patients smile more than ever at Smiles in Framingham as they enjoy improved oral health. With more smiles come more laughter and the many benefits that come with them for a lifetime.

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Dr. Himelhoch is trained and experienced in providing care for both pediatric and adult orthodontic problems to the residents of Framingham, MA. Also, we’re proud to serve Southborough, Ashland, Wayland, Natick, Marlborough, Hopkinton, Holliston, and the surrounding areas.