Do you want to be the person who walks into a room and lights it up with your smile? Smiling seems to come more naturally to some people than others, but like any habit, it gets much easier with practice. Smiling raises your spirits and makes other people happy as well – it’s a very powerful expression.
Improving the Look of Your Smile
Practice smiling a lot.
Have you ever heard of an “easy smile”? People with easy smiles break into a grin effortlessly, and it usually makes those around them feel happy. When you practice a lot, smiling will become easier, and you’ll look less strained when you do it. Practice what you feel to be your most attractive smile. Soon your confidence in your smile will increase, and you’ll start flashing it without thinking.
- Look at photos of yourself smiling in different ways. Do you like your smile best when your mouth is closed? Or do you like it open? Check it out from different angles. Which smiles and poses make your face light up the most? Which smile displays your other features to their best possible advantage? Which smile comes across as the most natural, the most “you”? Figure out which smile you like best, then practice in front of a mirror until you get it just right. Pay attention to how that great smile feels, so that you’ll be able to replicate it without looking in a mirror.
- Practice smiling at random strangers. Simply make brief eye contact with a person and smile. As you do so, think happy thoughts. Not everyone will smile back, but note how you feel when they do!
Smile with your eyes.
A wholehearted smile will naturally draw in the eyes. This natural smile is called a Duchenne smile. It’s not something you can fake; when you’re forced to smile for photos, your eyes don’t smile. It’s only when you truly feel like smiling that you flash a Duchenne. The eyes are essential for a genuine, warm smile.
- To get a feel for how to make your eyes smile, stand in front of a mirror and practice smiling, but concentrate only on your eyes. You may find it helpful to cover the lower part of your face with a piece of paper. Play around with it a bit, and you’ll find that you can make your mouth smile when your eyes aren’t smiling, and you can also smile only with your eyes.
- When your eyes do smile, remember how it feels, which muscles are working and how. With practice, you may discover how to smile with your eyes at will by relying on your feelings and muscle memory.
Maintain good oral hygiene.
One thing that can cause you to fear smiling is the worry that there is something stuck between your teeth, or that you have bad breath. Eliminate these sources of worry by taking active steps to keep your mouth fresh and clean.
- Brush your teeth and tongue regularly, carry floss with you wherever you go so that you can clean up after dining, and have breath freshener on you at all times (natural or commercial).
- See your dentist regularly for teeth check-ups and cleaning, as well as discussing options for teeth straightening or other treatments if this is a concern for you. When you smile people will inevitably look at your mouth, so following these considerations will help you make a better impression, and, more importantly, a healthy mouth will make you feel more confident about smiling.
- If your teeth are stained, consider your lifestyle habits that bring this about and try to minimize the impacts of such habits as smoking or drinking too much red wine, coffee, soft drinks, etc. You can also get them whitened if that will improve your confidence.
- Keep your lips in great shape to prevent chapping.
- Deal with bad breath. If it’s surface, cleaning and fresheners should be adequate. If these do not work, it may be a sign of an underlying health problem, so see your doctor for advice.