Do you ever find yourself getting irrationally irritable and responding harshly in situations that just don’t warrant it? Do you sometimes find yourself keeping people at a distance, even though you would really like them to be closer? Do you sometimes make snap judgments in social situations and regret your decision later?
If you’ve noticed these kinds of responses in social situations where you felt insecure about your smile, it’s probably not a coincidence. In fact, the two may be closely linked, as insecurity about your smile can trigger what is known as stress-oriented behavior or SOB. When you’re in SOB-mode you have a tendency not to think straight and can often be rude and harsh to others.
Fortunately, cosmetic dentistry can help eliminate insecurity about your smile so you can feel more comfortable and therefore more socially aware in situations that used to make you uncomfortable.
How SOB Alters Your Mindset
Psychologists who support the SOB model say that a stressor doesn’t just impact you cognitively in relation to itself, it sets off many changes in the way your brain assesses information and makes decisions.
How does this work? If you are in a social situation where you’re expected to smile, but you’re uncomfortable with your smile, you will experience stress. This stress triggers a change in your brain’s approach to the situation. Instead of being comfortable and identifying with other people as your comrades, allies, or family, you close up psychologically. These people are now strangers, foreigners, even enemies by default.
And naturally you’re going to respond to these foreigners differently than you would respond to friends. You are more likely to feel emotionally unstable. To protect yourself you can be aggressive, egotistical, and insensitive. You might act impulsively because you feel you don’t have time to consider your response, and you are more likely to have a negative judgment about everyone in the situation, including yourself.
The impact of SOB can be felt in primarily social occasions, but it can also have a significant impact on your professional life. You might have a hard time functioning in a team environment. You will tend to act selfishly and may damage your relationships with others.
And when you’re in SOB mode, you might not be able to focus on your work and you might find it more challenging to learn new skills and ideas. That’s because SOB shuts down your higher brain centers. Empathy is gone, and you will have a harder time enjoying your work, which can dramatically decrease your productivity.
Security about Your Smile Is a Foundation of Healthy Mind
The opposite of SOB is balanced empathic behavior (BEB). When your mind is in this mode, you’re looking to maximize everyone’s benefit from the situation. That includes maximizing your own benefit, which can lead to more positive experiences.
When you’re in BEB mode, you will not only strengthen relationships, you’ll be better at facing and overcoming challenges, and you’re more likely to learn valuable skills and ideas.
The way to keep yourself in BEB mode is to address your insecurities. If your smile is one of your insecurities, then a smile makeover might be the right approach to ensuring you are happy and healthy emotionally.