Smiling can have some surprising effects on your overall health.
Nothing says joy like a big, spontaneous smile! And the amazing thing is that a smile can reflect a genuine sense of happiness for so many reasons — from momentous occasions like the birth of a new baby, to some of life’s simplest pleasures like petting your dog or going for a walk-in nature.
When we experience the sensation of joy, something interesting happens in our bodies — two neurotransmitters in the brain, serotonin and dopamine, are released and a reaction is caused in various other bodily systems. In fact, even forcing a smile can trigger these neurotransmitters and boost your mood. Read on to find out what kind of effect smiling can have on your entire body and why it’s healthy to be happy…
How does joy impact the body?
The brain plays an integral role in our emotions. When dopamine and serotonin, two of the neurotransmitters in the brain, are released, we feel happiness. This means that when you experience something that you believe to be joyful, the brain receives a message to release these two chemicals into your central nervous system. Interestingly, it is common for individuals who have been diagnosed with clinical depression to have low levels of serotonin.
The effect of a genuinely happy smile extends beyond the brain — the circulatory system, which includes the heart, blood vessels, veins, blood and lymph, is also impacted and these effects can even present physically. You might, for example, experience a change in temperature or notice your heart racing and your cheeks flushing when you feel extreme happiness.
The automatic nervous system is also affected by one’s emotions. This system controls the body’s actions which happen without your conscious input, such as digestion and breathing. You might, for example, feel the rate of your breath change in reaction to your emotional state.
What happens first?
It’s difficult to say definitively whether the feeling itself or the body’s response comes first because one’s emotions are so tightly connected to the functioning of one’s body. When you have a happy experience, both the emotional and physical reaction occur immediately because so much is happening all at once in the body.
The good news, however, is that it is actually possible to trick your body into feeling joy. By simply smiling (even if you must force yourself to do so), you can tell your brain to release mood-boosting chemicals, lower your heart rate and make you feel calmer.
Another way to naturally boost your mood and improve your overall emotional state is to get some exercise. When you exercise, endorphins and neurotransmitters are released, which will make you feel physically and mentally better.
How can we help?
At G Dental, we want our patients to enjoy overall wellness and to feel good about their smiles. For this reason, we are committed to providing the very best in dentistry. If you are unhappy with your teeth for some reason, and this is preventing you from smiling as much as you should, we encourage you to come in and see us. We will take the time to discuss your particular concerns and aesthetic goals before tailoring a treatment plan that is most appropriate for you.
Our services include general, restorative, cosmetic and children’s dentistry, so whether you would like to completely transform the appearance of your smile or would simply like to come in for a routine check-up and clean, we can help.
To see the full list of treatments available at G Dental, please have a look here.
If you would like to arrange a consultation, please get in touch with us here or give us a call on 03 9435 6063. We look forward to welcoming you to our practice and giving you plenty of reasons to show off your beautiful and healthy smile for the sake of your oral and general health.