We know that this year, in particular, has been a challenging year.
As we gear up for the end-of-year festivities, we want to give you the one accessory guaranteed to bring a little light to help you in the next year: a smile.
Today we have a challenge just for you and your family….
Try to read through these fabulously fun facts about smiling with a straight face!
(Don’t worry, even if you can’t, we think you’re a winner either way!)
1. Smiling is universal.
In the 1960s, a famous study investigated the universality of certain human facial expressions, with particular emphasis looking at isolated indegenious cultures. This study was refuted when recreated in 2011 with the peoples of Papua New Guinea, but the one finding that didn’t change? Genuine smiling is, in fact, universally recognized as a sign of happiness. And, it’s no surprise that further studies have confirmed that smiling in newborns is instinctive, meaning it is a natural, unlearned reaction to happiness.
Want to see smiles from around the world? Check out this fantastic book by Ingrid Marn.
2. Smiling has incredible health benefits!
Some of the AMAZING benefits, confirmed by multiple peer-reviewed studies include:
- Decreased Stress
- Reduced blood pressure
- Higher tolerance to pain
- Elevated endurance
- Strengthened immune system
- Increased longevity
- Better mental health
- Strengthened cognitive abilities
- Closer and stronger interpersonal relationships
3. Does it really take more muscles to frown than to smile?
Well….we don’t know. We heard it as kids: Don’t frown because it takes more work to frown than to smile. The truth is that we actually don’t know if that is true. There are 43 facial muscles in total and, depending on the type of smile, we use a different number of muscles to create that particular emotion. A mouth-only smile takes only about 10 muscles, but since genuine, unrestrained smiles involve muscles in the eyes, forehead and perhaps even nose, it could be a lot more. A simple mouth-only frown can actually take only 6 muscles. Again, that can change with the amount of emotion behind the expression.
4. Speaking of types of smiles, there are actually 19 different types of smiles!
Funny enough, only 6 of these smiles are related to happiness. The others are related to everything from embarrassment to lying to contempt to discomfort. However, the good news is that we are generally able to identify the “genuine” smiles from the other types of smiling.
Read more about all the different types of smiles here.
5. Children smile A LOT more than adults.
Children smile an average of 400 times a day! Happy adults? Only about 40-50 times. The average person only smiles 20 times a day.
The lesson here? Bring out the kid in you with a lil’ more smiling throughout your day!
6. Women smile more than men.
Even girl babies smile more often than boy babies. A reason for this may be that smiles actually are seen as an attractive trait in women. In fact, 69% of people found women's smiles more attractive than a face with makeup on. Conversely, men were seen as more attractive when not smiling - perhaps a potential reason for the gender discrepancy.
7. Smiles are the easiest expression to recognize from far away.
In fact, people can recognize someone smiling from up to 300 feet away! It’s an easy way to make someone feel at ease.
8. Smiles are actually contagious!
No, really. It’s not just a saying. 50% of people who see a smile, will return it. As a social species, we have a need to establish intimacy and connection and have adapted an innate instinct to mimic the facial expressions of individuals we are trying to connect with.
9. Smiling can actually get you a promotion at work.
An interesting study found that smiling makes you appear more courteous and confident. Not only that, but studies have shown that happy employees are more likely to be productive than unhappy employees.
10. Do Doggies Really Smile?
Although everyone loves a poochy grin, dogs don’t actually smile in the same way that humans do. Unfortunately there’s little evidence to support that their ‘smile’ means what we think it means. However, rest assured that humans and dogs and humans share a very special connection. In fact their ability to understand our gestures is unparalleled to any other animal….which means that even if they can’t smile the way we do, they definitely understand our smiles.
Some animals laugh too like...
- Great Apes such as chimpanzees, bonobos, orangutans and gorillas. They love to laugh when play-wrestling, chasing, or tickling!
- Rats. Adorable fact: rats laughing actually sound like a “chirping” noise!
- Dogs. It may sound like a pant to us, but it’s a giggle to them!
- Dolphins. Dolphins’ laughs end with a whistle. Here, Lassie!
Now, stop monkeying around and get back to your day! 😁🤣