Science in the smile

Can smiling actually be good for you?

Smiling or frowning expresses how we feel and it is the most powerful way to show emotion without the need to speak. City Smiles looked into a number of studies that can potentially prove that smiling can be good for you. There are many theories behind the idea that positive physical emotion makes you feel happy and can adjust the moods of those around you in a positive way. There are also claims that being in a bad mood can bring others down.

“Smile and the whole world smiles with you…” – Stanley Gordon West

Volunteers from independent studies made reports on different mood changes when their facial emotion changed from frowning to smiling. Participants stated that they felt a change in emotion and that they had a sense of calm and happiness, thus coming to the conclusion that facial expressions can potentially adjust the way we feel.

Other studies leant towards the mental physicality involved in mood change, by the muscles on our face and that by moving them a certain way could adjust blood flow to the brain which they believed would implement a positive feeling.

Over time, different views were brought to the table by medical professionals, noting that facial expressions are adjusted by mental emotions and not by smiling alone. The new theory was that facial expression determines different thoughts as they are controlled mentally and not physically.

Making our blood boil

When we are angry or unhappy, we tend to feel hot-headed and our body temperature rises. These are the biochemical processes in our body that change due to emotion. When you frown, you contract different muscles in the face and it is said that you tend to produce more blood flow to your lateral sellar compartment which heats the blood flowing to your brain.

This theory has not been confirmed, as some believe that there is not enough evidence to support it, however social projects have monitored people in angry or depressed moods, and many times the opposing person will contract that same emotion.

When you look at the below facial expressions, do they impact your emotional feeling?


 It takes up to 17 muscles to smile and up to 43 to frown – Anonymous

An excuse not to smile

People may not enjoy smiling due to dental issues. When our teeth are not in optimal health, it may adjust the urge to show our teeth which can cause a negative response to our emotions. Keeping up to speed with your dental regime and making sure your teeth are healthy can ensure that you have no urge to avoid smiling.

So can smiling actually be good for you?

The best way to know if these theories work is to study them yourself. For example, if you are feeling down, smile and see if it adjusts the way you feel. Or if you are in a room full of strangers, give an expression of positivity and see if they smile back at you.

City Smiles is here to help you take care of your smile, call us today on 03 9654 6979