La Grange, IL – Do you find yourself refraining from smiling often because you’re embarrassed by your less than perfect grin? You might want to reconsider, as recent studies suggest that our facial expressions have a lot to do with our mood.
One study, performed by the University of Cardiff in Wales compared the happiness of women. In the study, half of the women had received Botox injections that made it virtually impossible for them to frown. These women reported feeling happier than the women who hadn’t received Botox and were capable of smiling.
Additional studies show that our emotions are enhanced by how they play out on our faces. If we smile, we tend to be happier, and if we frown, we tend to be angrier. For instance, a study published several years ago in the Journal of Pain showed that patients who frowned during an unpleasant procedure reported feeling more pain than those who didn’t frown.
“These theories were first introduced by Charles Darwin,” says orthodontics expert Dr. William Beam. “He said ‘the free expression by outward signs of an emotion intensifies it’ and we’ve seen study after study prove that is true. If you smile, you’ll be happier. If you frown, you’ll be sadder or angrier.”
One study even found that faking a smile can improve someone’s mood. In the study, subjects were given stressful, multitasking activities. Some were instructed to smile, others had their faces positioned into a smile with chopsticks and others were given no direction. Those who smiled, even a forced smile, reported feeling more positive about the activities than those who did not smile.
That’s not to say that in every situation one faces, simply putting on a happy face can make one happy. But facial action can lead to a change in mood, so it can have some impact. One theory holds that as facial muscles relax and tighten, they can raise or lower the temperature of blood that flow to the brain. In turn, these changes in temperature affect the activity of the brain center that regulates emotion.
So if you’ve kept yourself from smiling because you’re embarrassed by crooked, overlapping or missing teeth, now is the time to consider a total smile makeover. Drs. Richard Battistoni and William Beam are expert orthodontists with all the tools necessary to give you the smile of your dreams. From standard metal braces to Invisalign, there is an option for every patient.
A new, improved smile won’t just be beautiful, it can help improve your mood, too.
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