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11 Facts About Smiling

11 Facts About Smiling

You have probably heard that it takes fewer muscles when smiling than when frowning, so why not smile? Although the exact amount of muscles needed to smile or frown is not quite agreed upon, there are many reasons to smile each day. Here are some reasons to turn that frown upside down as well as some facts you might not know about this common facial expression.

Fact #1: You feel better when you smile.

Studies have shown that when a person is truly smiling, it affects certain muscles that actually make you feel happy or joyful. You smile because you are happy and when certain muscles are hit, your brain sends even more happy signals, or endorphins. Smiling is awesome. Try it.

Fact #2: Smiling is contagious.

When someone is having a bad day, pay them a compliment with a smile. The double-duty mood boosting effect will turn their day around for sure.

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Fact #3: You will look more attractive to men when you are smiling, if you are a woman.

Studies have shown that men think women who are not wearing make-up but are smiling are more attractive than those with perfect make-up who were stone-faced. This makes me wonder why runway models nary turn their mouths upward.

Fact #4: You will look less appealing as a man when you are smiling, if you are trying to attract a woman.

Oddly enough, the opposite is favored by women in a study by the American Psychological Association who prefer a man to look “brooding.” As a woman, this does not mean you should be rude or angry. The study only looked at initial reactions, not long-term relationship reactions.

Fact #5: It makes you sound friendly.

Smiling when you talk on the phone actually makes you sound more friendly. One thing that is taught to phone reps (or should be if it is not) is to smile when answering the phone to achieve better customer service. Somehow smiling translates into your voice to make you sound happy and engaging.

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Fact #6: Those who smile live longer.

It is no secret that our emotional health is tied closely to our physical health. Since smiling means you are happy (and getting happier by the very act of smiling), you will likely live a longer, more relaxed life than those who regularly frown. Smiling actually boosts your immune system and can help you live 7 years longer on average!

Fact #7: Newborns are able to smile.

Most people think it takes a few weeks for that first smile, which is true if you do not count smiles in their sleep. Babies start smiling in their sleep as soon as they are born. It makes you wonder what kinds of things a newborn has to smile about, right?

Fact #8: You are more likely to get a promotion if you smile always.

Those who smile tend to be thought of as having more confidence and sociable, therefore managers view these people as having what it takes to move up in the workplace.

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Fact #9: There are 19 types of smiles.

Researchers were able to categorize 19 different types of smiles into two categories: polite, “social” smiles and those that were genuinely happy smiles. Among the list is the “embarrassed” smile, “genuine” smile and “loving” smile.

Fact #10: People tend to smile more when surrounded by people than alone.

While you may occasionally smile to yourself or laugh at something funny on the television, you are more likely to smile when you have an audience. Scientists tested this principal on ten month old babies and whether or not the audiences were responsive, they smiled much more when being surrounded by others than being alone.

Fact #11: Smiling is a universal sign of happiness.

Language may be a barrier, but facial expressions like the smile, pass through anywhere you travel. (Though this may not be quite true in some foreign countries which hold different values and customs, do check before visiting them.)

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Have you put a smile on your face just now? Enjoy the boost of endorphins!

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Amanda DeWitt

Writer. Photographer. Instagrammer. Future Educator.

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How to Keep Yourself Awake at Work Without Caffeine

How to Keep Yourself Awake at Work Without Caffeine

Keeping yourself awake at work can be a real challenge when you’re bored, exhausted or sleep-deprived.

But before you reach for that can of Red Bull, bottle of Mountain Dew, or pot of coffee, try these healthy remedies to stimulate your 5 different senses and help you stay awake at work:

Sight – Visual Stimulation

The first thing you do when you wake up is opening your eyes, so your visual stimulation is very important to keeping your energy level high.

1. Maximize your exposure to light.

Your body’s internal rhythm is regulated by the amount of light you receive. The greater your exposure, the more alert you will feel.

Open the shades and let in the sunlight. Step outside or look out the window. Turn on all the artificial lights in your office or around your work space.

2. Exercise your eyes (or give them a break).

Roll your eyes up and down, side to side and diagonally. Rotate them clockwise and then counterclockwise. Squeeze them shut and then open them wide. Do this several times.

Reading and sitting in front of a computer screen for long periods can lead to eye fatigue.

Take regular breaks with deliberate blinking and looking out into the distance.

3. Take note of your environment.

Learn to enjoy people-watching. Observe their activities, speech, body language and interactions with others. Notice the details of building, trees and other objects around you, including their color, shape and size.

By doing this, you’re not only relaxing your eye muscles but also calming your mind.

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Hearing – Auditory Stimulation

What you hear or listen to have direct effect on your brain. This is why we feel so annoyed and sometimes angry when we hear construction noise when we’re working.

4. Engage in conversation.

Talk to a friend or colleague. Trade funny stories. Discuss your business venture, a creative idea, the latest political scandal, or any other topic that interests you.

Practice mindful listening to what you and the other person are saying. Tune into the tone, volume and content of the conversation.

Learn how to practice better listening from this guide:

Why Listen to Reply Instead of Understand Is the Key to Failure

5. Listen to upbeat music.

Try hip hop, rock or jazz to keep you alert. Instrumental, non-distracting music works best.

Sing, whistle, and hum along if you can. Plug in the earphones if you must.

Smell – Olfactory Stimulation

If you’re feeling sleepy and suddenly smell the coffee, you’ll probably feel more energetic. This is why smell is an influential stimulation.

6. Work your nose.

Aroma therapists recommend essential oils of peppermint (to boost energy), rosemary (to build awareness), eucalyptus (to increase oxygen), cedarwood  (to activate your mind), and cinnamon (to improve your reaction time).

If you don’t have essential oils on hand, you can use lotions or burning candles that provide the same scents.

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Citrus like lemons, limes, grapefruits and oranges are also natural olfactory stimulants. Get a whiff of these citrus scents to stay awake.

Taste – Gustatory Stimulation

If you want an energetic day at work, you can’t let your tongue feeling plain and flavorless.

7. Have a good breakfast.

Start off with the most important meal of the day.

Think fresh, light and healthy: bran cereals, wholegrain breads, fruits, and yogurt.

Nix the heavy stuff like sausages, greasy eggs or pancakes.

Need some breakfasts inspirations? Check out these ideas:

20 Healthy Breakfast Choices That Will Save You Time

8. Drink lots of water.

Keep a glass or bottle of H2O near you and sip from it throughout the day. Dehydration can leave you feeling tired, sluggish and sleepy.

So make sure you drink enough water throughout the day. Not sure how much to drink? This can help you:

How Much Water Should You Drink Each Day (and How Much Is Too Much for You)

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Think that you’ve been drinking too little water? Try these friendly reminders:

3 Best Apps To Help You Drink Much More Water

9. Eat energy-boosting snacks.

Nuts and fruits (like bananas, apples and strawberries) are sure bets. Pairings with staying power include baby carrots with a low-fat cream cheese dip; celery sticks with peanut butter; red peppers with hummus; and plain yogurt with granola.

Avoid carb-filled, sugary snacks that make you crash and leave you feeling tired.

Here you can find some healthy snack ideas:

25 Healthy Snack Recipes To Make Your Workday More Productive

Touch – Tactile Stimulation

Last but not least, your sense of touch will make you physically feel more energetic and less stressful.

10. Splash cold water on your face.

Do this in the morning, during bathroom breaks and in the afternoon. Being exposed to cold water pushes your body to adjust and regulate its internal temperature, which in turn keeps you alert.

This works the same as you take a cold shower to increase mood and alertness. Take a look at this article to learn more about it:

5 Surprising Benefits of Cold Showers

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11. Use acupressure.

Apply pressure to, massage, or tap on the stimulation points of your body. These include the top of your head, the back of your neck, the back of your hand (between the thumb and index finger), just below the knee and your earlobes.

Watch this video to learn about the acupressure points you can try:

12. Get moving.

Move away from your chair and stand, walk, run or climb the stairs. Feel the earth under your feet. Stretch and twist. Do jumping jacks, lunges, push-ups and back bends.

And if you need to move more discreetly, wiggle your feet, bounce your knee up and down, scrunch your toes, or cross your legs.

You can also try some simple stretches and exercises at your desk:

Unlike addictive caffeine fixes, these remedies activate your senses, engage your attention, amp up your energy and prevent morning grogginess and afternoon slumps without the side effects or health risks.

Pick a few ways from this list of suggestions and practice them consistently. And when you do this consistently, you’ll soon see the positive results — a more energetic and productive you at work.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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