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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.

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From political science to joining the fight against cancer: How one woman found her passion

An unexpected pivot to project management expanded Krystal Brady's idea of what it means to make a positive impact.

Krystal Brady/PMI

Krystal Brady utilizes her project management skills to help advance cancer research and advocacy.

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Cancer impacts nearly everyone’s life in one way or another, and thankfully, we’re learning more about treatment and prevention every day. Individuals and organizations dedicated to fighting cancer and promising research from scientists are often front and center, but we don’t always see the people working behind the scenes to make the fight possible.

People like Krystal Brady.

While studying political science in college, Brady envisioned her future self in public office. She never dreamed she’d build a successful career in the world of oncology, helping cancer researchers, doctors and advocates continue battling cancer, but more efficiently.

Brady’s journey to oncology began with a seasonal job at a small publishing company, which helped pay for college and awakened her love for managing projects. Now, 15 years later, she’s serving as director of digital experience and strategy at the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), which she describes as “the perfect place to pair my love of project management and desire to make positive change in the world.”

As a project manager, Brady helps make big ideas for the improvement of diagnosing and treating cancer a reality. She is responsible for driving the critical projects that impact the lives of cancer researchers, doctors, and patients.

“I tell people that my job is part toolbox, part glue,” says Brady. “Being a project manager means being responsible for understanding the details of a project, knowing what tools or resources you need to execute the project, and facilitating the flow of that work to the best outcome possible. That means promoting communication, partnership, and ownership among the team for the project.”

At its heart, Brady’s project management work is about helping people. One of the big projects Brady is currently working on is ASCO’s digital transformation, which includes upgrading systems and applications to help streamline and personalize oncologists’ online experience so they can access the right resources more quickly. Whether you are managing humans or machines, there’s an extraordinary need for workers with the skillset to harness new technology and solve problems.

The digital transformation project also includes preparing for the use of emerging technologies such as generative AI to help them in their research and practices.

“Most importantly, it lays the groundwork for us to make a meaningful impact at the point of care, giving the oncologist and patient the absolute latest recommendations or guidelines for care for that specific patient or case, allowing the doctor to spend more time with their patients and less time on paperwork,” Brady says.

In today’s fast-changing, quickly advancing world, project management is perhaps more valuable than ever. After discovering her love for it, Brady earned her Project Management Professional (PMP)® certification through Project Management Institute (PMI)—the premier professional organization for project managers with chapters all over the world—which she says gave her an edge over other candidates when she applied for her job at ASCO.

“The knowledge I gained in preparing for the PMP exam serves me every day in my role,” Brady says. “What I did not expect and have truly come to value is the PMI network as well – finding like-minded individuals, opportunities for continuous learning, and the ability to volunteer and give back.”

PMI’s growing community – including more than 300 chapters globally – serves as a place for project managers and individuals who use project management skills to learn and grow through events, online resources, and certification programs.

While people often think of project management in the context of corporate careers, all industries and organizations need project managers, making it a great career for those who want to elevate our world through non-profits or other service-oriented fields.

“Project management makes a difference by focusing on efficiency and outcomes, making us all a little better at what we do,” says Brady. “In almost every industry, understanding how to do our work more effectively and efficiently means more value to our customers, and the world at large, at an increased pace.”

Project management is also a stable career path in high demand as shown by PMI research, which found that the global economy will need 25 million more project managers by 2030 and that the median salary for project managers in the US has grown to $120K.

If you’d like to learn more about careers in project management, PMI has resources to help you get started or prove your proficiency, including its entry-level Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM) certification program. For those interested in pursuing a project management career to make a difference, it could be your first step.

Teresa Kaye Newman thinks that Boomer parents were right about a few things.

Teresa Kaye Newman, a teacher about to have a son, knows a lot about how to deal with children. So she created a list of 11 things she agrees with Boomers on when it comes to raising kids.

Newman believes she has credibility on the issue because she has 13 years of experience dealing with “hundreds and hundreds” of other people’s kids and has seen what happens when her so-called “Boomer” parenting principles aren’t implemented.

Of course, Newman is using some broad stereotypes in calling for a return to Boomer parenting ideas when many Gen X, Millennial and Gen Z parents share the same values. But, as someone who deals with children every day, she has the right to point out that today’s kids are entitled and spend too much time staring at screens.

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Well Being

A comic from The Oatmeal illustrates how we're missing the mark on happiness.

I do the things that are meaningful to me, even if they don't make me "happy."

By Matthew Inman/The Oatmeal. Used with permission.

How to Be Perfectly Happy


Matthew Inman is the Eisner Award-winning author of The Oatmeal. He's published six books, including New York Times Best-Sellers such as "How to Tell if Your Cat is Plotting to Kill You"and "The Terrible and Wonderful Reasons Why I Run Long Distances."He enjoys running marathons, writing comics, and eating cake.

You can read more of Matthew's comics here.

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Time travel back to 1905.

Back in 1905, a book called "The Apples of New York" was published by the New York State Department of Agriculture. It featured hundreds of apple varieties of all shapes, colors, and sizes, including Thomas Jefferson's personal favorite, the Esopus Spitzenburg.






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Democracy

No, Abraham Lincoln was not 'barred from the ballot' in Southern states in 1860

The Colorado Supreme Court's ruling on Trump has triggered a wave of false claims about Lincoln's election. Here's what actually happened.

Simon Abeta/X, Public Domain

People are claiming Lincoln was taken off the ballot in the slaveholding states, but that's not what happened.

In a ruling on December 19, 2023, the Colorado Supreme Court declared former president Donald Trump ineligible to be included on the state's primary ballot, citing the U.S. Constitution’s insurrection clause. The ruling prompted a wave of responses, some of which claim that Abraham Lincoln had been "barred from the ballot" or "taken off the ballot" by Democrats in 10 Southern slaveholding states in the 1860 election, which preceded the Civil War.

Unfortunately, thousands of people have "liked" and shared claims like this one:

It's unfortunate because it's false. While it's true that no ballots were distributed or cast for Lincoln in those states, it wasn't because he was barred, banned or taken off the ballot.

Here's why this claim is inaccurate:

First of all, there was no such thing as "the ballot" in 1860.

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A woman is outraged by social media.

Social media trends can often put overwhelming attention on a specific subject, turning it into a cultural obsession. There are a lot of examples when it comes to relationships and mental health. Social media is filled with armchair therapists who feel the need to diagnose everything as a psychological or physical disorder.

The problem is that there is often a giant chasm between the way that people who are trained in the world of mental health and psychology use these terms and the way they are bandied about online.

Take the term “gaslighting,” for example.

“Indeed, ‘gaslighting’ can be added to the list of words that have spilled over from clinical psychology into popular nomenclature,” Alia Hoyt writes at HowStuffWorks. “While increased understanding of mental health issues is generally a good thing, it falls decidedly flat when terms like gaslighting, ADHD, OCD, and such are grossly misused. All three have become popular slang terms for feelings and experiences that are nowhere near what the terms mean.”

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It's cold and flu seasons, folks. During this time of year, we're all on a mission to avoid the demon viruses that threaten to invade our bodies and wage Armageddon on our immune systems.

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