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Smile 2 Empower

“A smile is the shortest distance between two people”. Unknown.

Right now, I am smiling a full Duchenne smile (a smile that expresses pure enjoyment) because I am happy. My eyes are twinkling, and the corners of my mouth are pulled up by the Zygomaticus major muscle. It’s a genuine smile! Hi, Dr Kristina here. Tell me…who here ever does this? Maybe your smile is forced, like in the image below?

But, What’s Behind the Grimace?
I’m sure we’ve all done it at some point, you know, that time when you may have hidden your smile for photographs or not gone for that job because you didn’t feel you projected the right image. Well, it doesn’t need to be that way. And I can honestly say that many people, both professional and personal, have tried to make themselves fit into the mould of what society dictates or wants us to look like. Thus, we let our inner critic hold us “in check” so we don’t get out there and be too fabulous! We can’t look like we are “up ourselves” in fear of pain and scrutiny that might ensue from others. This lack of trust in ourselves causes us to give our power away to what others think and dictate.

However, with a more conscious train of thought, anyone can replace and embrace their marvellous self-image. Because you are the master of your destiny. Therefore you can create and transform certain features, such as your smile, your face, your clothing etc., to give you a more authentic and aligned projection of who you are.

An authentic and empowering projection saying, “Hey. I’m ready to go get ‘em’!”

Smile to Evolve
So, when you learn to focus on what you can and can’t change and accept that your smile is contagious, uniquely and gloriously you – what do you get? A self-empowered person! You learn to accept your strengths and weaknesses through your personal awareness and willingness to grow and make accountable changes. That, my friend, is smiling 2 empower. You are now motivated to take charge of your life, to learn and achieve to your heart’s content.

Why am I so Passionate about Smiling 2 Empower?
By now, you may think I sound a bit obsessive about this, don’t you? The reason for this is entirely personal. You see, I have scars from head to toe, and as such, I’ve worked hard on my health and appearance to remedy this. But, I’ve always been the one with the freaky injuries, everything from a smashed knee-cap from high jump as a child, to a smashed front tooth that resulted in headgear and braces. I even had a dead-looking tooth throughout my teenage years. Such a delight!

A turning point for me was recalling being in a nightclub dancing, thinking I was looking good. Then the UV black light came on, and I saw my dark tooth as clear as day in the mirror, oops! Follow that up with varicose veins, endometriosis (3 ops) and just recently, a skin cancer cut away with a skin graft stitched to my ear with 20 stitches, and you might say I have felt, at times, freaky. And, I literally have a smiley face on my tummy from said operations!

Don’t get me wrong, I was always fortunate to have supportive family and friends around me, but this was a personal battle with myself. And it all changed for me with one porcelain veneer.

Why Dentistry?
Well, truth be told, I’ve always been in the Professional Health Industry. But for the last three (3) decades, I’ve been working with people as a Dentist. Over this time, I have observed and been part of an industry that has been very conservative and male-dominated for most of my career. And even though I’ve owned my business for 11 years, it took a giant leap of faith, a lot of passion and sheer hard work to get where I am today, at Queen & Albert Dental.

So why did I take that leap of faith? Well, firstly, because my childhood injuries influenced the direction of my life. Where now, my older teenage children tell me that they see how attentive and caring I am towards them, my family, and also our patients at Queen & Albert Dental. And that, of course, includes staying empowered about my smile, looking after my image and appreciating my self-worth. So let me elaborate on how and why I care inwardly and outwardly so much.

It all started with porcelain veneers.
Yes, back to the porcelain veneer, which changed my outlook on life and how I could care for myself. When I had my front tooth fixed by my Dentist as a child, that initial negative experience just so happened to affect my social life and mental state. Yet with one porcelain veneer that all changed for the good. Of course I had no idea I was going to be a Dentist, let alone one who enjoys Cosmetic Dento-facial aesthetics! But it was that moment of personal transformation that forged my path.

The simplest enhancements changed my view of life and how I felt internally. So yes, Dento-facial treatments contributed to the way I felt about how I viewed myself. From there, I gained newfound confidence, giving me the ability to be the kind of person I wanted to be in this life. Due to my personal experience and sharing my story, I’ve been blessed to watch many people transform and become themselves! Suddenly they are ready to go on that date or take that job! I’ve got countless examples! And it doesn’t matter what age you are!

More Pondering!
So this got me thinking…how does psychology work around aesthetics and self-image? Well, then I discovered a book called Psycho-cybernetics by Maxwell Maltz. This plastic surgeon identified a link in the 1960s between self-image and brain function. He viewed the brain as a machine, like a super-computer, sending a missile to a destination. Even Charles Darwin, in the 1800s, created a theory called the Facial Feedback Hypothesis.

So, now that you know my backstory, including a bit of psychology, hands up, who smiles when they are happy? Who feels happy when they smile? Yes smiling makes you happy, as this hypothesis has since been confirmed as legit. So, what’s next?

Let’s go Global for a Moment!
Following on from the pandemic, there was a 25% increase in the prevalence of anxiety and depression, according to the World Health Organisation, worldwide. Right now, all across the globe, individuals have to reinvent themselves to stay relevant to keep that job, diversify and adapt, and “pivot” (word of the era, thanks to Ross from Friends). They want to look good and feel better again, and right now!

Thankfully due to modern technology, I have been able to stay in touch with my clients via Zoom. Our conversations brought many people to my practice to improve their outward appearance and to whiten their teeth, including smoothing out some of their facial lines. So yes, the pandemic has provided effective for some to learn what it takes to empower them to smile.

Many Smiles a Day are Good for Your Life and Health 🙂
Did you know it’s been proven that a smiling professional headshot increases attractiveness by making you seem more sincere, sociable and competent? (European Journal of Social Psychology) Additionally, a study in 2006 from the Dermatological Surgery journal showed that treatment of depressed patients with Botox in their frown lines actually reduced their depression. Who would have thought such a small change could have such a considerable impact?! So, my friends, if you are ready to dazzle again, to find the reason to get out of bed each day and feel fulfilled, a self-image correction of alignment works so well. I’m living proof.

Make no mistake, while everyone keeps putting off working or investing in themselves, the emotional burden right there in the chest will continue to slow down progress to get what you want. Stress hormones like cortisol, will age your body and keep you in a coma of complacency. So NOW is the time to get going! In fact, Buddhists believe that there is only the present moment, so what are you going to do about it right now?

Try this!
Here are my tips for smiling 2 empower, which hopefully will inspire you to improve your self-image and invest in yourself.

  1. Take a deep breath in and close your eyes for a moment. Imagine looking at yourself in the most positively and lovingly way that you can. You are looking fabulous and are confident and happy! What are you wearing? What does your face look like, your hair, your smile? This is the self-image I want you to take with you and visualise everyday when you wake up.
  2. Remove the guilt or shame of wanting to improve yourself. I promise that your family and friends will benefit and be inspired by your investment in yourself.
  3. Find the right professionals, recommended for having an excellent reputation. They will listen to your concerns, discuss your outcome and make a plan that you agree to that will help improve your image and smile. They will be your cheerleaders!
  4. If you are fearful, visualise fear as a veil that you walk through just to get to your ideal destination. Then, imagine how great it will feel once you get through the fear and achieve that confident and genuine reason to smile at yourself, and for yourself, everyday. That’s a celebration in itself, and it has nothing to do with ego or being vain. Simply, it is an expression of self-love.
  5. Finally, recall successful experiences in your past and relive the feelings. By doing so, your psycho-cybernetic body doesn’t know the difference between what’s real and what’s imagined!

Use these examples to start you off, then create your own methods. This will be your rocket fuel to take you where you want to go!

So…
Be brave!
Smile 2 Empower yourself!
Smile 2 Empower others!

And remember…

“When I dare to be powerful, to use my strength in the service of my vision, then it becomes less and less important whether I am afraid”- Audre Lorde.

Smile 2 Empower.
Dr Kristina Cain
Queen & Albert Dental

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