Benefits of Fake Smiling and Not Frowning

Will fake smiling improve your mood? While some doctors believe that faking a smile, particularly if you don’t like the way your smile looks, can decrease self-confidence, other research claims that smiling can improve mood, both for the smiler and those that witness the smile.

For the Fake Smilers

An article in TIME Magazine discusses the research behind the fact that relaxing the face during strenuous exercise can trick the brain into believing the exercise is not so strenuous. Is the same true of smiling?

Can forcing a smile trick the brain into believing you’re happy?

Maybe not…  Michigan University conducted a study that found that bus drivers who force fake smiles and happy conversation have lower job productivity and poorer mood.

However, bus drivers whose smiles stem from emotional authenticity had improvement in mood.

In 1872, Darwin wrote: “The free expression by outward signs of an emotion intensifies it.” In short, your expression can intensify your emotion. Smile, feel happier. Frown, feel worse. This is underscored in a study released in Journal of Pain, in 2008. The report tells us, people who grimace during unpleasant procedures report more pain than those who do not grimace. Furthermore, researchers at University of Cardiff in Whales found, in 2009, that people whose frowning muscles were paralyzed by Botox injections were generally in a better mood than those without Botox treatment. The patients were incapable of frowning, and they felt happier.

For the Witnesses

How does someone else’s smile affect you? Perhaps you’ve done your own smile experiment, smiling at people in the grocery store or at work. Many who witness a smile return the smile. An interesting study by the British Dental Health Foundation and Hewlett Packard reveals that thinking about a loved one’s smile can trigger the same brain stimulation as getting news that you’ve won a sum of cash. The director of research at Mindlab International (England) explains this as the halo effect—that seeing someone smile may increase one’s optimism, positivity, and motivation.

Can you spot a fake smile?

This brief online test by BBC takes about 10 minutes. Complete it and you’ll have a good idea of whether you can spot a fake smile. According to the text that accompanies this test, people use different muscles and a different part of the brain when fake smiling than when genuinely smiling. The Facial Action Coding System, or FACS, is the system that scientists use to determine whether a smile is fake. Eyes, eyebrows, and cheeks can reveal the truth. Overall, research indicates that people aren’t good at sorting fake smiles from real smiles.

Do you dislike your smile?

Some people refrain from smiling because they aren’t naturally inclined to smile or their state of mind does not warrant a smile. Others don’t smile because of embarrassment over their teeth.   If that is the case for you, your normal smile is normally an “adaptive smile”.  Modern dentistry can transform a worn, stained, unattractive smile and improve self-confidence.  The procedures are often as simple as reshaping teeth or filling in chipped, discolored areas.   You don’t have to omit smiling from your life. Call D. Greg Seal Prosthodontics in North Dallas today to schedule a smile consultation.