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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.

via Chewy

Adorable Dexter and his new chew toy. Thanks Chewy Claus.

True

Every holiday season, millions of kids send letters asking for everything from a new bike to a pony. Some even make altruistic requests such as peace on Earth or helping struggling families around the holidays.

But wouldn’t the holiday season be even more magical if our pets had their wishes granted, too? That’s why Chewy Claus is stepping up to spread holiday cheer to America’s pets.

Does your dog dream of a month’s supply of treats or chew toys? Would your cat love a new tree complete with a stylish condo? How about giving your betta fish some fresh decor that’ll really tie its tank together?

Or do your pets need something more than mere creature comforts such as life-saving surgery?

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Pink sings "Hopelessly Devoted to You."

Pop royalty Pink paid a heartwarming tribute to fellow music icon Olivia Newton-John at the 2022 American Music Awards, which aired this past Sunday, Nov. 20.

Newton-John, who led a lustrous career—including winning 10 AMAs herself—as well as a life dedicated to philanthropy, died of breast cancer at the age of 73 in August of this year. Though Newton-John had a wide variety of beloved hits throughout the years, Pink chose to sing arguably one of her biggest hits of all time, “Hopelessly Devoted to You.”
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Innovation is awesome, right? I mean, it gave us the internet!

However, there is always a price to pay for modernization, and in this case, it’s in the form of digital eye strain, a group of vision problems that can pop up after as little as two hours of looking at a screen. Some of the symptoms are tired and/or dry eyes, headaches, blurred vision, and neck and shoulder pain1. Ouch!

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A man putting up Christmas lights on his house.

People can take a lot of heat from their neighbors if they start putting up holiday decorations too early. It’s a bit of a holiday faux pas to put up Christmas lights until after you’ve digested your Thanksgiving turkey, but some folks are so full of Christmas spirit, they just can’t resist.

If that's you, the good news is that you now have an excuse for putting up decorations before anyone else on your block. (Not that you needed one in the first place.) According to science, decorating for the holidays early makes you happier. Who can argue with that?

Psychoanalyst Steve McKeown told Unilad that the good feelings stem from a sense of nostalgia. “Although there could be a number of symptomatic reasons why someone would want to obsessively put up decorations early, most commonly for nostalgic reasons either to relive the magic or to compensate for past neglect,” he said.

“In a world full of stress and anxiety people like to associate to things that make them happy and Christmas decorations evoke those strong feelings of childhood,” McKeown continued.

Psychologist Deborah Serani told Today that changing the scenery inside and outside our homes is a great way to get a quick hit of feel-good hormones.

"It does create that neurological shift that can produce happiness," she said. "I think anything that takes us out of our normal habituation, the normal day in, day out ... signals our senses, and then our senses measure if it's pleasing or not.

"Christmas decorating will spike dopamine, a feel-good hormone," Serani added.

Putting up holiday decorations also sends an excellent message to our neighbors. A study published in the Journal of Environmental Psychology found that people who decorate for the holidays are seen by their neighbors as more sociable.

The study found that people who decorate for the holidays are perceived as “friendly and cohesive” and that the added holiday cheer can change people’s perceptions of their neighbors. People believe that their unsociable neighbors are actually more social if they put up decorations. The study concluded that “residents can use their home's exterior to communicate attachment and possibly to integrate themselves into a neighborhood's social activities.”

So decorating your home for the holidays will not only make your family happier but make your neighbors’ as well. Looks like a win-win here.

YouGov conducted a survey to find out when most people feel it's appropriate to start decorating for the holidays. A poll of 2,748 U.S. adults who celebrate Christmas, Chanukah or Kwanzaa found that 27% put their winter holiday decorations up before Thanksgiving, while 69% wait until after Thanksgiving. The most common time was the day after Thanksgiving when 25% of people started decorating for the winter holidays.

But what about those bah-humbug neighbors who will judge you if you start decorating too early? Serani says that they may have some bad memories from childhood associated with the holidays so their disdain may have nothing to do with you at all.

Science

Zoo camera captures incredible moment mama chimp is reunited with her two-day-old baby

When Kucheza raised his little hand and Mahale realized he was there, everyone felt her joy.

Kucheza was born by emergency C-section and had to be separated from mama Mahale for two days.

Thanks to our close evolutionary proximity and Jane Goodall's years of field research, humans have an intense fascination with chimpanzees. They are clearly not us, yet they are clearly similar to us in many ways, and a viral video from Sedgwick County Zoo beautifully highlights that connection.

Mahale is a 28-year-old chimpanzee who recently gave birth to a baby at Sedgwick County Zoo in Wichita, Kansas. According to KSAT News, her labor stalled, which necessitated an emergency C-section. As a result, Mahale and her baby were separated for two days while she started her recovery and her baby received oxygen.

Unlike humans, chimps don't have the language and cognitive abilities to understand what's happening in such a situation. It must have been a confusing experience for Mahale, who had already given birth to two babies prior, to find herself no longer pregnant but not having her baby with her.

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Bill Burns dressed as Walt Disney gets a hug from Mickey Mouse.

Dapper Day is an unofficial themed day at Disneyland where people come to enjoy the magic in style. The day is celebrated by park guests twice a year, once in the spring and once in the fall, by dressing up in vintage clothing reminiscent of when the park opened in 1955.

On November 6, one guest at the park’s cosplay outfit was so convincing that cast members at the park did a double-take. Bill Burns and his wife Jane dressed up as Walt and Lillian Disney and Bill looked so much like Uncle Walt that he caused a stir among park employees.

Bill later told Good Morning America that park employees were saying, “Walt is in the park” when he arrived. For many, it must have been like seeing a ghost, because Bill has an uncanny resemblance to Disney with his mustache and period-perfect suit.

A magical moment was caught on camera when Bill, as Walt, was seen interacting with a cast member dressed as Mickey Mouse. "Mickey stops and literally is staring," Bill told Good Morning America. "And then Mickey snapped out of it and you saw the hug. And that hug was a long hug as hugs go for the characters. It was extremely genuine. The cast member was stunned."

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