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Joy

10 things that made us smile this week

Upworthy's weekly roundup of joy.

smile happy joy uplifting

10 reasons to smile.

Since we're entering cold and flu season while also (still) trying to fend off COVID-19, we could all use some tips for boosting our immune system. We probably all know the standards—eating well, getting enough sleep, exercising—but did you know that joy can also give your immune system a kick?

According to the Mayo Clinic, laughter can release neuropeptides that can help prevent illness from becoming more serious and help fight stress that can weaken your immune system. A 2003 study found that people with more positive emotional states were less likely to develop a common cold, a 2015 study found that laugh therapy helped boost the immune response in women who had just given birth and multiple other studies have come to similar conclusions.


According to ENT-otolaryngologist Dr. Murray Grossan, even a simple smile can offer immunity benefits. “What’s crazy is that just the physical act of smiling can make a difference in building your immunity,” Dr. Grossan told NBC News. “When you smile, the brain sees the muscle [activity] and assumes that humor is happening.”

So consider this list a weekly dose of emotional inoculation. Can't guarantee it'll keep you from catching anything, but it certainly isn't gonna hurt ya!

Enjoy!

Swan couple engaging in a graceful courtship dance is just mesmerizing.

So beautiful. Mute swans are one of the few bird species that mate for life. (And whoever played the "Swan Lake" theme over this was brilliant.)

Kiddo getting woken by a new puppy surprise is the stuff core memories are made of.

Love how it took him a few seconds to enter his body and see what was happening. Then a hug before anything else. So sweet.

Cuddly cat appears to comfort human who is crying.

"Hey, hooman. You okay? Let me smoosh my face on you to make you feel better."

Dad sings Persian song for baby who blissfully rests on his guitar.

Gracious. What a lovely voice, beautiful song and adorable baby.

Doggo greets his bestest boy with the bestest hug.

I'd like to put in a request for this kind of greeting every time I come home, please.

Kid meets his baby brother for the first time and makes everyone's eyes all sweaty.

@brianaarielle89

#fyp #viral #heartwarming #siblings #brothers #babiesoftiktok

Good tears, but phew! I was not ready. Read the full story and see the Part Two video here.

This baby girl's "Hi, baby girrrl" is almost too much cuteness to handle.

@aliannaandfam

Hi mommy! 👋🏽😁 #babygirl #babyfever #babiesoftiktok #beautifulpeople #love #god

She's so darn proud of herself. As she should be.

Selma Blair, who was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis four years ago, lit up "Dancing With the Stars."

It hasn't been an easy road for Blair, and she was afraid she would lose her balance during the performance, but she wanted to show that people with disabilities can find joy in unexpected ways. Mission accomplished. Read the full story here.

Wee one takes his first steps and decides dancing is more important.

That shoulder shrug, though. May we all walk through life with such sweetness and swagger!

Finally, a little Paul Rudd "September" dance montage to carry you through the weekend.

If Paul Rudd being Paul Rudd doesn't make you smile, I'm not sure I can help you.

Hope that made your week a whole lot brighter! If you enjoy these posts and want to have them delivered straight to you each week, subscribe to our free newsletter, The Upworthiest, here.

Photo courtesy of Girls at Work

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Girls are bombarded with messages from a very young age telling them that they can’t, that is too big, this is too heavy, those are too much.

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Pop Culture

14 things that will remain fun no matter how old you get

Your inner child will thank you for doing at least one of these.

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Swings can turn 80-year-olds into 8-year-olds in less that two seconds.

When we’re kids, fun comes so easily. You have coloring books and team sports and daily recess … so many opportunities to laugh, play and explore. As we get older, these activities get replaced by routine and responsibility (and yes, at times, survival). Adulthood, yuck.

Many of us want to have more fun, but making time for it still doesn’t come as easily as it did when we were kids—whether that’s because of guilt, a long list of other priorities or because we don’t feel it’s an age-appropriate thing to long for.

Luckily, we’ve come to realize that fun isn’t just a luxury of childhood, but really a vital aspect of living well—like reducing stress, balancing hormone levels and even improving relationships.

More and more people of all ages are letting their inner kids out to play, and the feelings are delightfully infectious.

You might be wanting to instill a little more childlike wonder into your own life, and not sure where to start. Never fear, the internet is here. Reddit user SetsunaSaigami asked people, “What always remains fun no matter how old you get?” People’s (surprisingly profound) answers were great reminders that no matter how complex our lives become, simple joy will always be important.

Here are 14 timeless pleasures to make you feel like a kid again:

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All images provided by Adewole Adamson

It begins with more inclusive conversations at a patient level

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Adewole Adamson, MD, of the University of Texas, Austin, aims to create more equity in health care by gathering data from more diverse populations by using artificial intelligence (AI), a type of machine learning. Dr. Adamson’s work is funded by the American Cancer Society (ACS), an organization committed to advancing health equity through research priorities, programs and services for groups who have been marginalized.

Melanoma became a particular focus for Dr. Adamson after meeting Avery Smith, who lost his wife—a Black woman—to the deadly disease.

melanoma,  melanoma for dark skin Avery Smith (left) and Adamson (sidenote)

This personal encounter, coupled with multiple conversations with Black dermatology patients, drove Dr. Adamson to a concerning discovery: as advanced as AI is at detecting possible skin cancers, it is heavily biased.

To understand this bias, it helps to first know how AI works in the early detection of skin cancer, which Dr. Adamson explains in his paper for the New England Journal of Medicine (paywall). The process uses computers that rely on sets of accumulated data to learn what healthy or unhealthy skin looks like and then create an algorithm to predict diagnoses based on those data sets.

This process, known as supervised learning, could lead to huge benefits in preventive care.

After all, early detection is key to better outcomes. The problem is that the data sets don’t include enough information about darker skin tones. As Adamson put it, “everything is viewed through a ‘white lens.’”

“If you don’t teach the algorithm with a diverse set of images, then that algorithm won’t work out in the public that is diverse,” writes Adamson in a study he co-wrote with Smith (according to a story in The Atlantic). “So there’s risk, then, for people with skin of color to fall through the cracks.”

Tragically, Smith’s wife was diagnosed with melanoma too late and paid the ultimate price for it. And she was not an anomaly—though the disease is more common for White patients, Black cancer patients are far more likely to be diagnosed at later stages, causing a notable disparity in survival rates between non-Hispanics whites (90%) and non-Hispanic blacks (66%).

As a computer scientist, Smith suspected this racial bias and reached out to Adamson, hoping a Black dermatologist would have more diverse data sets. Though Adamson didn’t have what Smith was initially looking for, this realization ignited a personal mission to investigate and reduce disparities.

Now, Adamson uses the knowledge gained through his years of research to help advance the fight for health equity. To him, that means not only gaining a wider array of data sets, but also having more conversations with patients to understand how socioeconomic status impacts the level and efficiency of care.

“At the end of the day, what matters most is how we help patients at the patient level,” Adamson told Upworthy. “And how can you do that without knowing exactly what barriers they face?”

american cancer society, skin cacner treatment"What matters most is how we help patients at the patient level."https://www.kellydavidsonstudio.com/

The American Cancer Society believes everyone deserves a fair and just opportunity to prevent, find, treat, and survive cancer—regardless of how much money they make, the color of their skin, their sexual orientation, gender identity, their disability status, or where they live. Inclusive tools and resources on the Health Equity section of their website can be found here. For more information about skin cancer, visit cancer.org/skincancer.

People share experiences with intrusive thoughts.

When I was younger I used to think I was dying or that I would get kidnapped by a random stranger, but I kept it to myself because I thought something was wrong with me. I thought that telling people would confirm this fear, so I kept it inside my entire life until I was an adult and learned it was part of ADHD and other disorders, such as OCD and PTSD. But it doesn't have to be part of a disorder at all—a vast amount of people just have intrusive thoughts, and a Twitter user, Laura Gastón, is trying to normalize them for others.

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via Lewis Speaks Sr. / Facebook

This article originally appeared on 02.25.21


Middle school has to be the most insecure time in a person's life. Kids in their early teens are incredibly cruel and will make fun of each other for not having the right shoes, listening to the right music, or having the right hairstyle.

As if the social pressure wasn't enough, a child that age has to deal with the intensely awkward psychological and biological changes of puberty at the same time.

Jason Smith, the principal of Stonybrook Intermediate and Middle School in Warren Township, Indiana, had a young student sent to his office recently, and his ability to understand his feelings made all the difference.

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