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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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Last Updated on July 23, 2019

5 Steps To Move Out Of Stagnancy In Life

5 Steps To Move Out Of Stagnancy In Life

In the journey of growth, there are times when we grow and excel. We are endlessly driven and hyped up, motivated to get our goals.

Then there are times when we stagnate. We feel uninspired and unmotivated. We keep procrastinating on our plans. More often than not, we get out of a rut, only to get back into another one.

How do you know if you are stagnating? Here are some tell-tale signs:

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  • If you have been experiencing chronic procrastination on your goals
  • If you don’t ever feel like doing anything
  • If you keep turning to sleep, eating, games, mindless activities and entertainment for comfort
  • If you know you should be doing something, but yet you keep avoiding it
  • If you have not achieved anything new or significant now relative to 1 month, 2 months or 3 months ago
  • If you have a deep sense of feeling that you are living under your potential

When we face stagnation in life, it’s a sign of deeper issues. Stagnation, just like procrastination, is a symptom of a problem. It’s easy to beat ourselves over it, but this approach is not going to help. Here, I will share 5 steps to help you move out of this stagnation. They won’t magically transform your life in 1 night (such changes are never permanent because the foundations are not built), but they will help you get the momentum going and help you get back on track.

1. Realize You’re Not Alone

Everyone stagnates at some point or another. You are not alone in this and more importantly, it’s normal. In fact, it’s amazing how many of my clients actually face the same predicament, even though all of them come from different walks of life, are of different ages, and have never crossed paths. Realizing you are not alone in this will make it much easier to deal with this period. By trying to “fight it”, you’re only fighting yourself. Accept this situation, acknowledge it, and tell yourself it’s okay. That way, you can then focus on the constructive steps that will really help you.

2. Find What Inspires You

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Stagnation comes because there isn’t anything that excites you enough to take action. If you don’t have a habit of setting goals, and instead just leave yourself to daily mundanes, it’s not surprising you are experiencing stagnation. What do you want to do if there are no limitations? If you can have whatever you want, what will it be? The answers to these questions will provide the fuel that will drive you forward.

On the other hand, even if you are an experienced goal setter, there are times when the goals you set in the past lose their appeal now. It’s normal and it happens to me too. Sometimes we lose touch with our goals, since we are in a different emotional state compared to when we first set them. Sometimes our priorities change and we no longer want to work on those goals anymore. However, we don’t consciously realize this, and what happens is we procrastinate on our goals until it compounds into a serious problem. If that’s the case for you, it’s time to relook into your goals. There’s no point in pursuing goals that no longer inspire you. Trash away your old goals (or just put them aside) and ask yourself what you really want now. Then go for them.

3. Give Yourself a Break

When’s the last time you took a real break for yourself? 3 months? 6 months? 1 year? Never? Perhaps it’s time to take a time-out. Prolonged working can cause someone to become disillusioned as they lose sight of who they are and what they want.

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Go take some extended leave from work. A few days at bare minimum; a few weeks or months will be great. Some of my ex-colleagues have quit their jobs and took months out to do some self-reflection. Of course, some of us might not have that luxury, so we can stick to a few weeks of leave. Go on a trip elsewhere and get away from your work and your life. Use this chance to get a renewed perspective of life. Think about your life purpose, what you want and what you want to create for your life in the future. These are big questions that require deep thinking over them. It’s not about finding the answers at one go, but about taking the first step to finding the answers.

4. Shake up Your Routines

Being in the same environment, doing the same things over and over again and meeting the same people can make us stagnant. This is especially if the people you spend the most time with are stagnant themselves.

Change things around. Start with simple things, like taking a different route to work and eating something different for breakfast. Have your lunch with different colleagues, colleagues you never talked much with. Work in a different cubicle if your work has free and easy seating. Do something different than your usual for weekday evenings and weekends. Cultivate different habits, like exercising every day, listening to a new series of podcasts every morning to work, reading a book, etc (here’s 6 Proven Ways To Make New Habits Stick). The different contexts will give you different stimulus, which will trigger off different thoughts and actions in you.

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When I’m in a state of stagnancy, I’ll get a sense of what’s making me stagnate. Sometimes it’s the environment I’m in, sometimes it’s the people I’ve been hanging out with, sometimes it’s my lifestyle. Most of the times it’s a combination of all these. Changing them up helps to stir myself out of the stagnant mode.

5. Start with a Small Step

Stagnation also comes from being frozen in fear. Maybe you do want this certain goal, but you aren’t taking action. Are you overwhelmed by the amount of work needed? Are you afraid you will make mistakes? Is the perfectionist in you taking over and paralyzing you?

Let go of the belief that it has to be perfect. Such a belief is a bane, not a boon. It’s precisely from being open to mistakes and errors that you move forward. Break down what’s before you into very very small steps, then take those small steps, a little step at a time. I had a client who had been stagnating for a long period because he was afraid of failing. He didn’t want to make another move where he would make a mistake. However, not wanting to make a mistake has led him to do absolutely nothing for 2-3 years. On the other hand, by doing just something, you would already be making progress, whether it’s a mistake or not. Even if you make a supposed “mistake”,  you get feedback to do things differently in the next step. That’s something you would never have known if you never made a move.

More to Help You Stay Motivated

Here are some resources that will help you break out of your current phase:

Featured photo credit: Anubhav Saxena via unsplash.com

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