Martin and Roman Kemp.

Simple things make us smile

Specsavers Tullamore says it’s the simple things in life that are keeping us smiling, according to new research by Specsavers, with the sound of the doorbell indicating a takeaway or other delivery likely to bring a smile to many of our faces!

The Specsavers Smile Study has revealed that spending time with loved ones makes three quarters of us smile more than anything else, and people found that they enjoyed exercise more throughout the pandemic [2] than they did previously.

The study also revealed that receiving a smile – or a smile[3] – from someone else is what makes people smile most at the moment[4]. And despite face masks currently concealing the nation’s smiles, two thirds of us still smile when wearing one, with over half of respondents admitting that they are now expressing themselves more using their eyes because people can’t see their mouths.

Other sounds that make us smile, according to the survey, include a child’s laughter or hearing waves crashing on the shore.

Dr Carlos Crivelli, a leading psychologist and expert in the science of smiling at De Montfort University in Leicester, has reviewed the survey findings.

"The science of facial behaviour - why we smile and how we use smiles in social interaction - is fascinating. For example, we smile to bond or affiliate, when we would like to reward others, to reciprocate, or to keep the interaction going,’ explains Dr Crivelli.

"Specsavers’ Smile Study found that respondents perceive people smiling to be more cooperative (73%), friendlier (82%) and more attractive (74%), and our confidence increases when people smile at us (69%).

"When you limit the opportunities to interact with others by imposing lockdowns and physical distancing restrictions, you can see the impact that it has on the usual tools that we use to interact.

As part of this social interaction toolkit, smiles play an important role. Despite not being able to use smiles due to face masks, a positive outtake from these findings is that over half (58%) reported that they can rely on the upper part of the face to interact with others."

When it comes to cheering ourselves up, a cuddle from a loved one or a call with a best friend is the best source of comfort (39%). In the absence of visiting friends or going to the pub, 29% of us turn to music and TV, followed by exercise (10%).

Encouraging us to keep on smiling are father and son presenting duo Martin and Roman Kemp, known for cheering up the nation on their new Sunday Best TV show.

Former Spandau Ballet musician and actor, Martin, says:

"Staying in touch and speaking with people who make you smile helps you focus on your happiness and theirs and we all need that right now.

A smile is infectious and even though we're all mostly hidden by masks at the moment, you get a rush from smiling that helps boost your spirits. And you can still see a smile in the eyes. They aren’t called the windows of the soul for nothing – they can reveal your feelings, your individuality and your personality."

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