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Joy

10 things that made us smile this week

Upworthy's weekly roundup of joy.

Smiles joy happy

Smiling is good for us all.

Did you know that one smile can stimulate your brain as much as 2,000 chocolate bars?

In a 2005 study, British researchers used an electromagnetic brain scan machine to measure mood boosts from various stimuli. Not only did seeing a child's smile provide the same stimulation as up to 2,000 chocolate bars, but it was also equivalent to receiving 16,000 British pounds (more than $25,000 in U.S. dollars at the time of the study).

Another study from Wayne State University, as reported by TIME, discovered that professional baseball players who were smiling widely in their photos lived an average of 79.9 years, while those who were not smiling only lived 72.9 years—a full seven-year difference.


In his 2011 TED Talk, "The Hidden Powers of Smiling," Ron Gutman shared what he'd gleaned from his review of research on smiling, including the above studies and more. He found that smiling is an incredibly powerful human behavior that can make a profound difference in our lives.

So these weekly smile-worthy roundups aren't just for fluff. Smiling is good for us, and if enough of us get enough of those feel-good endorphins, maybe—just maybe—we'll make a noticeable, positive mark on the world around us.

Enjoy, friends!

Michael Myers' dance moves turn Halloween horror into happiness and hilarity.

I'm not even a fan of horror flicks, but I couldn't love this more.

Pianist transforms standard iPhone alarm into a gorgeous piano ballad.

Musicians really deserve all the kudos. Imagine how sad and boring our world would be without them.

Roger Federer made a promise to a young fan in 2017 and just fulfilled it in the best way.

Zizou was only 6 years old when he asked Federer to keep playing long enough for him to compete with him. Now he's the top under-12 player in the U.S. and Federer gave him the surprise of a lifetime. So dang sweet. Read the full story here.

As a child, she gave her teacher one of her favorite toys. Three decades later, she got it back with the sweetest note.

For her twins! Absolutely amazing that she kept it for so long. We don't deserve teachers.

Woman surprised her husband with a custom love song and his reaction is everything.

Why did I not issue a tissue warning?!? Dang it. His face when he realizes it is so sweet, but his losing it when she sings about his kids and his mom? Oof. Just beautiful.

Dwarf mongoose plays dead when it encounters a hornbill and it's an incredible acting job.

I've watched this a dozen times and it only gets funnier each time.

Lebanese dance troupe wows yet again with stunning performance on 'America's Got Talent.'

Everything about this is mesmerizing. The costumes, the choreography, the coordination—all of it. Read more about this amazing dance troupe here.

Baby giggling over sweet potatoes and sounding like a kazoo is peak joy.

Fantastically fierce, furry feline fearlessly fights floating phantoms—and it's fabulously fun.

That is one adorably badass kitten.

Dance into the weekend with this surprisingly awesome Scottish-Indian musical mashup.

Whoever came up with putting these musical traditions together was a genius. Such a fun collaboration that works so well.

That's it for this week! Did you smile? Was it better than 2,000 chocolate bars? (I dunno, you guys. I love chocolate a whole lot. I don't think one smile is worth 2,000 chocolate bars. But maybe all the smiles from this list gets us pretty close.)

Be sure to come back next week for another roundup of joy, and subscribe to The Upworthiest newsletter to bring more smiles right to your inbox.

Nature

Pennsylvania home is the entrance to a cave that’s been closed for 70 years

You can only access the cave from the basement of the home and it’s open for business.

This Pennsylvania home is the entrance to a cave.

Have you ever seen something in a movie or online and thought, "That's totally fake," only to find out it's absolutely a real thing? That's sort of how this house in Pennsylvania comes across. It just seems too fantastical to be real, and yet somehow it actually exists.

The home sits between Greencastle and Mercersburg, Pennsylvania, and houses a pretty unique public secret. There's a cave in the basement. Not a man cave or a basement that makes you feel like you're in a cave, but an actual cave that you can't get to unless you go through the house.

Turns out the cave was discovered in the 1830s on the land of John Coffey, according to Uncovering PA, but the story of how it was found is unclear. People would climb down into the cave to explore occasionally until the land was leased about 100 years later and a small structure was built over the cave opening.

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via Pexels

A couple celebrates while packing their home.

One of the topics that we like to highlight on Upworthy is people who are redefining what it means to be in a relationship. Recently, we’ve shared the stories of platonic life partners, moms who work together as part of a “mommune” and a polyamorous family with four equally-committed parents.

A growing number of people are reevaluating traditional relationships and entering lifestyles that work for them instead of trying to fit into preexisting roles. It makes sense because the more lifestyle options that are available, the greater chance we have to be happy.

A recent trend in unconventional relationships is married couples "living apart together," or LATs as they are known among mental health professionals.

Actress Helena Bonham Carter and director Tim Burton, actress Gwyneth Paltrow and producer Brad Falchuk, and photographer Annie Leibovitz and activist Susan Sontag are all high-profile couples who’ve embraced the LAT lifestyle.

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Family

Professional tidier Marie Kondo says she's 'kind of given up' after having three kids

Hearing Kondo say, 'My home is messy,' is sparking joy for moms everywhere.

Marie Kondo playing with her daughters.

Marie Kondo's book, "The Life-Changing Art of Tidying Up," has repeatedly made huge waves around the world since it came out in 2010. From eliminating anything that didn't "spark joy" from your house to folding clothes into tiny rectangles and storing them vertically, the KonMari method of maintaining an organized home hit the mark for millions of people. The success of her book even led to two Netflix series.

It also sparked backlash from parents who insisted that keeping a tidy home with children was not so simple. It's one thing to get rid of an old sweater that no longer brings you joy. It's entirely another to toss an old, empty cereal box that sparks zero joy for you, but that your 2-year-old is inexplicably attached to.

To be fair, Kondo never forced her way into anyone's home and made them organize it her way. But also to be fair, she didn't have kids when she wrote her best-selling book on keeping a tidy home. The reality is that keeping a home organized and tidy with children living in it is a whole other ballgame, as Kondo has discovered now that she has three kids of her own.

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Pop Culture

YouTube star MrBeast sponsors 1,000 people's cataract surgery to help them see again

"I had never heard of MrBeast so I almost hung up. But gratefully did not hang up."

YouTube star sponsors 1,000 people's cataract surgery

Blindness touches people's lives around the world and YouTube star Jimmy Donaldson, more popularly known as MrBeast, is trying to do something about it. Donaldson made it his mission to help 1,000 people regain their eyesight with the help of Dr. Jeff Levenson, an ophthalmologist and surgeon in Jacksonville, Florida.

Levenson has been operating a program called "Gift of Sight" for over 20 years. The program provides free cataract surgery to uninsured people who are legally blind for free, so long as they meet certain criteria. Levenson had never heard of Donaldson, and he almost hung up on him when the YouTube star called to ask about a partnership.

"I had never heard of MrBeast so I almost hung up. But gratefully did not hang up," Levenson told CNN.

After figuring out that Donaldson was indeed a real person who wanted to help others, the duo called around the Jacksonville area to determine the people who needed help the most. They got their list of clients from free clinics and homeless shelters, which covered the United States portion of the surgeries.

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A mom makes sensory sand by putting Cheerios in a blender.

A parenting influencer who goes by the name @ellethevirgo on TikTok has shared a brilliant hack that can turn a simple box of Cheerios into a fun sensory sand experience. The great part is that the sand is edible, so you don’t have to worry if your child puts some in their mouth, which they will inevitably do.

The recipe for Cheerios sensory sand is pretty simple:

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Gaël Monfils makes tennis a must-see.

Tennis isn't always the most entertaining sport to watch, especially if you're not particularly interested in seeing a ball get slapped across a net at 1,000,000 mph approximately 17,000 times. You could probably get whiplash or eye strain if you focused too hard on it. While some people love the sport, others need a little more than grunts and sneaker sounds to capture their attention.

If you're in the group of people who need to be entertained, look no further than Gaël Monfils, a professional French tennis player that has earned the nickname, "The Entertainer." Monfils turned pro in 2004 and has multiple championship matches under his belt, and yet he still takes the time to be...extra while playing.

In a compilation video uploaded to TikTok, we see the 36-year-old tennis player dancing after hitting the ball across the net just out of his opponent's reach. But of course, he also doesn't hit the ball like your average player, either. In one part of the video, Monfils jumps up extremely high and bicycle kicks as he hits the ball with his tongue hanging out of his mouth.

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