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Smiling is good for you, in more ways than one.

A great-looking smile is a real social and business asset. But even the simple act of smiling has benefits that can improve your health, rev up your dating life, and even boost your brainpower. Below are some ways flashing a smile can give you an advantage in a variety of situations.

Reduce stress: In a 2012 health newsletter, researchers at Emory University reported that smiling reduces the level of the stress hormone cortisol while releasing endorphins, brain chemicals that reduce pain and make us feel happy. A good laugh is even more beneficial. According to the same report, laughing can give you a quick burst of energy, boost immunity, and even burn extra calories.

Increase your trust factor: A smile sends a message that you’re cooperative and trustworthy. In a 2001 study, researchers found that a smile increased others’ willingness to trust a person by approximately 10 percent, independent of other factors.

Make you happier at work: If you’re in the hospitality or service industry, you already know a smile goes a long way. But a smile can help anyone feel better while they’re at work. A 2003 Canadian study showed that people who smiled on the job reported a greater level of satisfaction with their work, and were more likely to describe their workplace as pleasant and cheerful.

Look younger: According to an article published in the journal Psychology and Aging, a smile can be age-defying. When asked to estimate the ages of adult strangers in photographs, people consistently underestimated the ages of those who smiled for the camera.

Increase your appeal: Many studies have shown a link between smiling and perceptions of physical attractiveness. A recent Canadian study asked people to rate the attractiveness of adults sporting various facial expressions. People with big, beaming smiles were consistently rated the most attractive. The same study also rated smilers as more approachable than those who sported a neutral expression.

Beat a mental block: If you’re having trouble working through a problem, the simple act of smiling could give you the flash of insight you need to solve it. In a study performed in 2010, participants were asked to perform a set of tasks that required periodic shifts in they way they approached a problem. People who were asked to smile when they encountered difficulties solved the problems much faster, and were much less likely to give up on a solution.

If you’re happy with your smile, you’re more likely to show it off – and reap the rewards that a sparkling, confident smile can bring. If yours could use a little brightening, give us a call to talk about options for getting the brighter, more brilliant smile you’ve always wanted.

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