We have all heard the expression that laughter is the best medicine, but it turns out that simply by smiling you are increasing your state of happiness, as well. For years physical movements or restrictions have been linked to the reciprocal emotional effects, so it is no surprise that recent research studies have proved that a simple act such as smiling actually boosts your mood, and even your ability to enjoy.
Where we would usually surmise that our emotional state is linked to involuntary physical acts (such as an accidental bump leading to anger, being tickled leading to happiness), recent studies have showed that even being instructed to make physical expressions and movements can lead to enhanced emotions. For example, someone instructed to make an angry face showed enhanced blood flow to their hands and feet (which fits in with the physical reactions of kicking and punching when angry), and those instructed to smile found others around them more favourable than when straight-faced.
A great example of the latter is in a recent study, participants were instructed to watch funny cartoons. Those who were instructed to hold a pencil in their teeth and thus forced to make a smile, found the cartoons funnier than the other participants who were instructed to hold the pencil in their lips, thus preventing them from being able to smile.
So whilst we are often taught that it is all about mind over matter, remember that this is not always the case, and that in fact, forcing yourself to smile can actually improve your emotional state, even if it is just temporary. OK, you may look a little strange walking down the street grinning to yourself, or sitting at your desk at work with a big, slightly scary smirk or your face, but if it makes the day slightly more bearable, it’s worth it!
And of course, the perfect smile needs perfect teeth – so check out our blotting brushes to achieve gnashers to be proud of!