So many things in life are catchy. You can catch a cold, you can catch poison ivy, you can catch a stomach bug, but what about the feel good stuff? Good moods, positive thoughts, laughter, all these things are the stuff we want to “catch” in life. So is a smile really contagious? We often see how easily it is to yawn when we see someone else yawning. You are walking through a grocery store and you look over at an adorable little toddler who lets out a big yawn, and there you are yawning with them! But when that same toddler is giving you a big toothless grin, do you reciprocate subconsciously with a smile of your own?
Mirror, Mirror on the Wall
Smiling is in fact contagious. As humans, our facial expressions come from an unconscious automatic response area in our brain. This is why some of us say we “wear our emotions on our face.” Unless you have really mastered the art of tricking your brain, when you are mad, surprised, sad, and even happy, your brain automatically shows those expressions on your face. The brain is very complex, but to make it simple, certain cells in the brain contain mirror neurons. Just as their name says, they cause us to mirror or imitate certain reactions to other human beings. So, just as, whether we are tired or not, we find ourselves yawning when we see someone else yawn, the same reigns true with smiling.
Health, Wealth, and Happiness
So why is putting a smile on someone else’s face so important? We live in a society that keeps us busy. As human beings, we often don’t have time to stop and smell the roses. Life can be so stressful that we find ourselves in a slump. But there are actually health benefits to smiling. And who wouldn’t want their dose of medicine to fix their problems to be a smile a day! When we smile, the brain releases neuropeptides which are chemicals that fight stress, relax the body, lower heart rate, and decrease our blood pressure. Dopamine, endorphins, and serotonin are some of the chemicals released by our brain when we smile. So, if nothing else, smiling can reduce a little stress in your daily life and help those around you. So why should you worry so much about making others smile?
See the Change
Studies have actually shown that besides feeling better yourself, those of us who smile often are actually treated differently by those around us. Smiling regularly actually makes a person appear attractive, reliable, relaxed, and sincere. So there is more to your smile then just looking like the happy person on the block! There is a whole psychology to the effect of smiling, not only for your own being, but for those around you. Give it a shot! Smile more and notice if those around you start treating you differently. Do you see the change?
So, let that smile shine! At the end of the day, whether smiling is scientifically contagious or not, who cares! We should all smile regardless! At My Smile CT, we pride ourselves in making you feel great about your smile. You will want to show it off soon enough! And what better outcome can you ask for then making yourself feel better, making others feel better, and changing the world one smile at a time.