How Smiling Through Your Mask Will Elevate Your Mood

As a dentist, I use my time, effort, and talent for one goal: helping patients achieve and maintain healthy smiles that make them feel confident and happy. 

Because America’s favorite redhead hit the nail on the head: You’re never fully dressed without a smile. Your smile can speak volumes. It can turn someone’s day around. And it can even elevate your own mood.

Despite a new world in which we cover most of our smiles with masks, here are some reasons you should still keep smiling.

People can still tell that you’re smiling, even with a mask on

Have you ever looked in a mirror when you smile? Your entire face changes, not just your mouth. Particularly your eyes. (You’ve probably heard the term “smize” AKA, smile with your eyes.)

When we’re shopping grocery aisles or standing in line at the post office, and we make eye contact with a stranger, it’s going to be a lot easier to dismiss someone as rude or impatient when most of their face is covered with a mask. And the same goes for you.

We should smile at one another. It makes us happier, and it makes us feel safer

Being unable to easily read the facial cues of those around us is hard enough on our sense of security and ability to connect with others. But we can help others feel safe and welcome with smizing.

A smize today means “thank you,” or, “you go first,” or “I’m here for you.”

Smiling elevates your mood

When we smile, our body releases mood-boosting neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin. That expression “fake it ‘til you make it” comes to mind here — maybe the going is rough and you just don’t feel like smiling. You might think, “I’ll smile again when I cheer up a bit.”

But smiling can actually cheer you up. The act can reduce stress (something we all need right now) and keep your mood elevated throughout the day. 

Smiling boosts your immune system

The act of smiling improves your overall health and helps your immune system function more effectively. It is believed that because you’re more relaxed (because of those fancy neurotransmitters we talked about earlier), immune function improves.

You’re already protecting your health by wearing a mask and washing your hands, but why not also build up your immune system through smiling? It’s way more fun.

It’s about more than the smile itself

You might not know that the smiley face symbol wasn’t created until 1963. Artist Harvey Ball was commissioned by an insurance company to help improve employee morale.

But for Ball, it wasn’t just about the symbol itself, but what a smile can mean: kindness

“A smile is what we want from every other human being. Sometimes I think we forget that,” said Ball. “We start to think we’re too small to make a difference. But that’s not true. The truth is that every one of us has the ability to make a difference every day.”

Smiling is such a simple yet powerful act that can make us, and those around us, happier — even with masks on.