Few things in life have as much power as a good smile. It can make people laugh, cry, or let down their guard. It shows personality and emotion – it’s humanizing. Yet, most people don’t smile nearly as often as they should.
The Importance of Smiling
There are plenty of factors that separate us from other mammals and species of animals, but few are more compelling than the smile. While some monkeys and apes will flash their teeth on occasion, smiling is a human characteristic. And though it may seem like a cheesy expression, it’s actually a powerful force.
A smile is a reflection of happiness – but it goes much deeper than this. Smiling signals positivity and friendliness, which can make it easier to cultivate meaningful relationships with other people. Regular smiling can also make you look younger and thinner. It elevates your mood and induces more pleasure from the brain than a piece of chocolate. Smiling can also make you seem more likable and competent to others.
The problem is that we don’t smile enough. And when we do, it’s usually a forced grin for a selfie or a cheap courtesy.
But why? If we know the power of a smile, why don’t we smile more?
Whether consciously or subconsciously, it often has something to do with a lack of confidence in how to smile. And by learning how to adopt a better smile, you’ll conjure up the confidence to smile more frequently.
Unlocking the Power of a Better Smile
The beauty of the smile is that every person has his or her own unique version. So while we would never advocate for copying and pasting someone else’s smile onto your own, these are some simple steps you can take to enhance your grin.
Take Care of Your Mouth
Your dental and oral hygiene has a direct impact on the quality of your smile (as well as your confidence in your smile). Therefore, it all starts with taking care of your mouth.
Regular brushing, flossing, and dental cleanings are a great place to start. You should also consider addressing any dental concerns you have through procedures.
If, for example, you have a gummy smile that hurts your confidence and causes you to smile with your lips closed, you should consider periodontal cosmetic surgery as an option for augmenting and reshaping your gums.
Relax and Be Natural
Relaxed smiles are the best smiles. Be as natural as possible and let your entire face play a role in your grinning. Your top and bottom teeth should never touch each other. Keep a small space between the rows of teeth and loosen your jaw.
Wet Your Teeth
This is a little trick that makeup artists and models often use to infuse a little more vibrancy into their smiles. Here’s how it works: Right before smiling, run your tongue over the front of your teeth and then open your mouth. The added saliva creates a smoother, shinier appearance and prevents a dry, dull look. (If you’re participating in a photo shoot or taking a headshot, you may even consider rubbing a very small amount of Vaseline over your teeth.)
The same goes for your lips. While your pearly whites get most of the focus when you smile, lips have a significant impact as well. Always keep lip balm on hand and apply several times a day. This will ensure your lips complement your smile, as opposed to being a distraction.
For better or worse, society has taught us that there are times when we should smile – even if we don’t feel like it. As a result, you’ve probably mastered the art of the fake smile. Unfortunately, this rarely fools anyone.
The eyes are the biggest telltale between a real smile and a fake one. If you’re going to maximize the full effects of smiling, make sure it’s genuine.
Be Confident in Your Smile
When it’s all said and done, the most important thing is how your smile makes you feel. If you’re confident in your grin, you’ll use it more often. As a result, people will be more drawn to you and your life will take on more meaning and fulfillment.
Take the time to assess your smile – not out of a judgmental spirit, but out of a place of genuine curiosity and kindness. If you feel there are things you can do to improve your confidence in your smile, create an action plan and prioritize growth in this area.