Mental Health

Mandy Kloppers

How To Deal With Smile Anxiety

Smile anxiety is a term used to describe anyone that finds it difficult to smile. When you’re around others or having a photo taken, you can’t seem to crack a smile. You worry about not being able to smile so much that it makes it even harder to break into a natural smile. The end result is a forced grimace that leads to more anxiety. You worry about what other people think of you and you hate having photos taken of yourself.


It’s a fairly common issue that seems trivial but can be really harsh on your mental health. Smiling is one of the few things that helps with issues like depression or anxiety as it releases hormones that make you feel happy. When you don’t feel comfortable smiling, it can make it harder to get those jolts of happiness during the day. 


How do you deal with smile anxiety? It can feel impossible, but there are two things to try: 


Figure out why you’re anxious to smile

Why don’t you want to smile? 


For many, it’s down to a problem with their smile. You don’t like the way you look, which stops you from cracking a toothy grin. So, what’s the problem? Is it your teeth? Again, loads of people have stained or misshapen teeth that stop them from smiling because they’re self-conscious. If it’s a serious issue, see your dentist and look at the treatments available. Maybe all you need are some braces to straighten your teeth, then you’ll be confident again!


Figure out the source of your anxiety and you may be cured forever. Try smiling again after you’ve dealt with the source – if you no longer feel anxious, then you know what was holding you back the whole time. 


Think of things that make you smile

For other individuals, smile anxiety is a more deep-rooted issue. You don’t have any issues holding back your smiles; you simply can’t break out into a grin. It’s definitely more of a mental problem as you’re probably worried about how you look. The more you worry, the harder it is to smile naturally. 


Instead, think of things that make you smile. This is the easiest way to break out into a natural smile that makes you feel good. Next time someone is taking a photo, think of the last thing that made you truly happy. Perhaps it was a joke or something funny you saw on TV. Maybe it was a nice time out you had with friends. Call upon these memories and your face will automatically form a smile that doesn’t feel forced. 


Mild smile anxiety isn’t a daily problem. It will likely only affect you when photos are taken. However, severe smile anxiety can be a daily curse as you struggle to appear happy. This impacts the way people perceive you and could prevent you from obtaining certain opportunities. It’s known that candidates who smile are more likely to get jobs than those that don’t. Focus on dealing with smile anxiety to ensure it doesn’t have a negative impact on your life anymore.


Photo by Jamie Brown on Unsplash