The Most Important New Year’s Resolution You Can Make

A lot of New Year’s resolutions will be health related this year – we want to lose weight, quit smoking, etc.

The sad reality of these good intentions is that once February rolls around, most of us will be done; we’ll get caught up in our busy lives and go back to our old routines.

The reason why we don’t keep these well intentioned resolutions is this: We want to be thin before we’re fit, meaning, we want all the superficial benefits of good health without wanting good health itself. We’ll pay big bucks for a quick teeth whitening before our Vegas trip or wedding to look good, but we neglect to spend just minutes each day taking care of our bodies.

This year, why not make a New Year’s resolution that will actually change your life and give you back tenfold in health and happiness what you put into it. THAT’S a resolution you’ll have no problem keeping well into February and beyond, for your whole life!

One of the best New Year’s resolutions you can make for 2013, and for the rest of your life, is taking care of your mouth. The reason is not what most dentists will tell you – white teeth, a beautiful smile. What you get when you take basic preventative measures with your teeth is a longer life, higher salary, better love life, increased confidence, mood, and happiness, reduced risk of heart disease, dementia and other diseases, and a more pain-free aging process.

Levity leads to longevity. The more you smile, the longer you live – this has been proven by a UC Berkeley study that found that the width of a smile in a yearbook photo accurately predicted a person’s happiness and well-being 30 years later. Smiling wider has been proven over and over to improve happiness, salary, marriage, self-confidence, and longevity.

The best way to smile more? Take basic preventative measures to take care of your teeth. It might sound like the least sexy, most boring New Year’s resolution you could make, but consider the following:

  • Smiling is contagious. If you smile, others smile, even if they don’t want to, as we’ve found from many studies. Think of how this might affect you at work, or in that big interview, or in your marriage or dating life.
  • Smiling immediately improves your mood. Imagine how resilient this will make you as you work towards your other New Year’s resolutions this coming year.
  • Smiling causes production of endorphins, which are the same chemical produced by exercise. Endorphins boost your immune system, relieve stress, and lower your blood pressure, just like exercise does.
  • Smiling causes the release of serotonin, which will allow your brain to work at optimum levels.
  • Here’s the best part: Smiling makes you look more attractive and confident. Attractive and confident people have higher salaries, better marriages and friendships, and ultimately longer and more fulfilling lives, which leads to – more smiling!

So if any one of your New Year’s resolutions includes looking and feeling better, getting healthier, making more money, improving relationships, or becoming happier and more fulfilled – consider that little tube of toothpaste or that forgotten container of floss in the back of your bathroom cabinet. You can reap all of the benefits above by flossing daily, brushing after each meal, making sure to brush properly so you aren’t damaging tooth enamel, and making an appointment to see your dentist in the new year. These basic prevention methods are some of the simplest and most impactful things you can do for your health and happiness all year.

When asked “What thing about humanity surprises you the most?”, the Dalai Lama answered: “Man…Because he sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived.”

Mark Burhenne DDS

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