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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 March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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