WHAT’S IN A SMILE?

 

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A smile is a facial expression formed primarily by flexing the muscles at the sides of the mouth.

VERB – To form one’s features into a pleased, kind, or amused expression, typically with the corners of the mouth turned up and the front teeth exposed.

NOUN – An expression on the face in which the ends of the mouth curve up slightly, often with the lips moving apart so that the teeth can be seen; expressing happiness, pleasure, amusement, or a friendly  disposition.

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So, WHY do we smile? Smiling stimulates our brain’s reward mechanisms in a way that even chocolate, a well-regarded pleasure-inducer, cannot match.

Smiling, quite simply, can change our brain. So, what happens to our brain when we smile? Well, when we see something that makes us happy or pleases us, neuronal signals travel from the cortex of our brain to the brainstem (the oldest part of our brains). From there, the cranial muscle carries the signal further towards the smiling muscles in your face. Then, once the smiling muscles in our face contract, there is a positive feedback loop that now goes back to the brain and reinforces our feeling of joy. Hence, smiling being more rewarding than chocolate.

Smiling, like most facial expressions, communicates to those around us what we are feeling. It also reduces stress that your body and mind feel, almost similar to getting good sleep, according to recent studies. And smiling helps to generate more positive emotions within you. That’s why we often feel happier around children – they smile more. On average, they do so 400 times a day. Whilst happy people still smile 40-50 times a day, the average of us only smiles 20 times a day.

We humans though, are pretty adept at distinguishing between fake and real smiles. Fake smiles usually only involve the lips and lower part of the face (controlled specifically by the motor cortex). When in certain social situations, we sometimes feel compelled to appear as if we are enjoying ourselves, such as when having to converse with someone we don’t like or enduring events we’re not comfortable attending. Beware though, as mentioned earlier, we can usually detect insincerity, especially within a smile. A REAL smile will always involve the eyes, which will crinkle at the corners, as well as the mouth curving upwards. This type of smile was first identified by Guillaume Duchenne. He realized that a real smile is initiated by the emotional center of our brain and thus involved both the motor cortex and the limbic (emotional) centers of our brain.

Smiling however, is definitely more than just a contraction of muscles in your face. As Mother Teresa said;

“We shall never know all the good that a simple smile can do.” 

So, give a stranger one of your smile today, it may the only bit of sunshine they see today.

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Winter Food and Coat Drive

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As in previous years, we are running our Winter Coat and food Drive.

All donations will be gratefully received and accepted in the office at 1900 Packard Road, Ypsilanti during office hours.

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The donations of nonperishable foods are donated to the food Gatherers of Ann Arbor and the winter clothing is distributed by one of our wonderful patients and his wife through the Christian Life Center Church to those in need living in Ypsilanti.

Please rummage through your pantry and closets and consider bringing in anything you no longer need, so that someone in need may benefit.

Our office hours are:

Monday, Tuesday & Thursday 8am – 5pm

Wednesday 12 noon – 7pm

Friday 9am – 1pm

We will be accepting donations through Friday December 16th.

Thank you.

Happy Holidays.

 

Don’t Flush the Floss!

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As important as a discussion on the benefits of regular flossing is, proper disposal of used floss is also worth talking about.

Dental floss, especially the newer brands, is conveniently shred-resistant, but unfortunately, that also makes it non-biodegradable. While this means that tossing used dental floss in the garbage isn’t ideal, it’s still preferable to flushing it down the toilet, where it has the potential to create havoc in the waste processing stations, jamming pumps and causing increased maintenance and delays.

People with septic tanks are also advised not to flush their dental floss, as, in this case, the floss can clog and potentially damage septic tank components if it becomes trapped.

While there is no ideal answer to what to do with used dental floss, it looks like the preferred disposal method is in the garbage, where you’re advised to “toss the floss,” instead of “flushing the floss.”