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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 December 2, 2019

10 Powerful Ways to Stop Worrying and Start Living Today

10 Powerful Ways to Stop Worrying and Start Living Today

Plato knew that the body and mind are intimately linked. And in the late 1800s, the Mayo brothers, famous physicians, estimated that over half of all hospital beds are filled with people suffering from frustration, anxiety, worry and despair. Causes of worry are everywhere, in our relationships and our jobs, so it’s key we find ways to take charge of the stress.

In his classic book How to Stop Worrying and Start Living, Dale Carnegie offers tools to ditch excessive worrying that help you make a worry-free environment for your private and professional life.

These are the top 10 tips to grab worry by the horns and wrestle it to the ground:

1. Make Your Decision and Never Look Back

Have you ever made a decision in life only to second-guess it afterwards? Of course you have! It’s hard not to wonder whether you’ve done the right thing and whether there might still be time to take another path.

But keep this in mind: you’ve already made your decision, so act decisively on it and dismiss all your anxiety about it.

Don’t stop to hesitate, to reconsider, or to retrace your steps. Once you’ve chosen a course of action, stick to it and never waver.

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2. Live for Today, Package Things up in “Day-Tight Compartments”

You know that feeling: tossing, turning and worrying over something that happened or something that might, well into the wee hours. To avoid this pointless worrying, you need “day-tight compartments”. Much as a ship has different watertight compartments, your own “day-tight” ones are a way to limit your attention to the present day.

The rule is simple: whatever happened in the past or might happen in the future must not intrude upon today. Everything else has to wait its turn for tomorrow’s box or stay stuck in the past.

3. Embrace the Worst-Case Scenario and Strategize to Offset It

If you’re worried about something, ask yourself: “What’s the worst thing that could happen?” Could you lose your job? Be jailed? Get killed?

Whatever the “worst” might be, it’s probably not so world-ending. You could probably even bounce back from it!

If, for example, you lose your job, you could always find another. Once you accept the worst-case scenario and get thinking about contingency plans, you’ll feel calmer.

4. Put a Lid on Your Worrying

Sometimes we stress endlessly about negative experiences when just walking away from them would serve us far better.

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To make squashing that worry easier, try this strategy, straight from stock traders: it’s called the “stop-loss” order, where shares are bought at a certain price, and then their price development is observed. If things go badly and the share price hits a certain point, they are sold off immediately. This stops the loss from increasing further.

In the same manner, you can put a stop-loss order on things that cause you stress and grief.

5. Fake It ‘Til You Make It – Happiness, That Is

We can’t directly influence how we feel, but we can nudge ourselves to change through how we think and act.

If you’re feeling sad or low, slap a big grin on your face and whistle a chipper tune. You’ll find it impossible to be blue when acting cheerful. But you don’t necessarily need to act outwardly happy; you can simply think happier thoughts instead.

Marcus Aurelius summed it up aptly:

“Our life is what our thoughts make it.”

6. Give for the Joy of Giving

When we perform acts of kindness, we often do so with the expectation of gratitude. But harboring such expectations will probably leave you disappointed.

One person well aware of this fact was the lawyer Samuel Leibowitz. Over the course of his career, Leibowitz saved 78 people from going to the electric chair. Guess how many thanked him? None.

So stop expecting gratitude when you’re kind to someone. Instead, take joy from the act yourself.

7. Dump Envy – Enjoy Being Uniquely You

Your genes are completely unique. Even if someone had the same parents as you, the likelihood of someone identical to you being born is just one in 300,000 billion.

Despite this amazing fact, many of us long to be someone else, thinking the grass is greener on the other side of the fence. But living your life this way is pointless. Embrace your uniqueness and get comfortable with who you really are: How to Be True to Yourself and Live the Life You Want

8. Haters Will Hate — It Just Means You’re Doing It Right

When you’re criticized, it often means you’re accomplishing something noteworthy. In fact, let’s take it a step further and consider this: the more you’re criticized, the more influential and important a person you likely are.

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So the next time somebody talks you down, don’t let it get to you. Take it as a compliment!

9. Chill Out! Learn to Rest Before You Get Tired

Scientists agree that emotions are the most common cause of fatigue. And it works the other way around, too: fatigue produces more worries and negative emotions.

It should be clear, therefore, that you’ve got to relax regularly before you feel tired. Otherwise, worries and fatigue will accumulate on top of each other.

It’s impossible to worry when you are relaxed, and regular rest helps you maintain your ability to work effectively.

10. Get Organized and Enjoy Your Work

There are few greater sources of misery in life than having to work, day in, day out, in a job you despise. It would make sense then that you shouldn’t pick a job you hate, or even just dislike doing.

But say you already have a job. How can you make it more enjoyable and worry-free? One way is to stay organized: a desk full of unanswered mails and memos is sure to breed worries.

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Better yet, rethink about the job you’re doing: What to Do When You Hate Your Job but Want a Successful Career

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Featured photo credit: Tyler Nix via unsplash.com

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