bread & butter

A small child smiles nearly 400 times a day.  That’s a lot of grinning, right?  The smiles taper off as they grow, and by the time they reach adulthood, they’re smiling a mere 17 times per day.  I read that quick fact in The Happiness Project, and I’ve been pondering ways to recover some of the 383 smiles; where did they go, and how do we get them back?
So, this might seem tangental, but I got to thinking about how much time I spend repeating, over and over, “milk, shampoo, bread, butter.”  A little thing, sure, but it requires a lot of mental repetition to make sure I don’t forget any of the items.  And what a silly thing to focus on, right?
I decided to design ‘market stationary’ that reminded me not only of bread & butter, but also (cheesy as it is) ‘love each other.’  The additional bit about loving one another seems more worthy of headspace than market knick knacks.
While I was preparing this post, I came across some other interesting facts about smiling:

  • UC Berkeley found that yearbook smiles are reliable predicators of future happiness, marriage stability and interpersonal success.
  • Wayne State University found that baseball card smiles predict the span of a player’s life.
  • We are born smiling.

Now, tell me, do you have any strategies for making yourself or others smile?

20 thoughts on “bread & butter

  1. That fact about yearbook smiles is definitely intriguing–and it reminds me of another officially recorded smile–on our driver’s licenses. In Angel’s old driver’s license when I met him, his picture was stony-faced…he kind of looked like a cold-blooded criminal in my opinion (he can have a scarily serious face when he tries…) so at some point, when he needed to get a new license, I went with him to the DMV and was teasing him, telling him this time he needed to smile really big so that the picture would accurately reflect what he is like…and the result is probably the happiest-looking driver’s license picture on the face of the planet. When he has to show his license at the bank or wherever people always comment on his big smile in the photo….hahaha!

  2. I always enjoy your whimsical creations coupled with your insightful thoughts. Perhaps it may be construed as corny or cheesy, but it is spot on. If we were to focus more on the ‘love each other’ and less on the ‘bread and butter’, I think many of those missing smiles would be recaptured 🙂

    By the way, I just love the picture of the little door situated in that hole at the base of the tree. What wondrous stories live behind that door, I wonder? 😉

  3. Love this! Darrin has a huge white board in our office room for all of his research graphs and diagrams and whatever, and he keeps a list of “To-Do”s down the side of his white board…I always add “Give your wife a kiss” at least 4 times. 😉 Little reminders are always necessary!

  4. They either find it funny or annoying, depending on their mood, but I have a sure fire way to make my husband and my kids laugh or smile. I simply look right in their eyes and say, “I’m gonna make you smile” in a sing-song voice and they ALWAYS smile!

  5. The decrease in the number of daily smiles is fascinating. Where do they go?? I would argue that we have as many or more reasons to smile when we’re adults. So I’m going to work on remembering them! Today!

  6. This is amazing! I can’t believe the smile loss…that’s a huge number. I smile a lot when I talk to people, but my job has me staring at a screen pretty much all day, so I’m sure I lose hundreds of smiles that way. And now I want to know what my yearbook smiles say about me!! 🙂

  7. You two are the cutest. I always try and find time to laugh (at something!) at least a few times a day. Laughing is such a beautiful thing =]

  8. We are born smiling?! I had no idea! I love hearing that. I am definitely a huge proponent of smiling! I’m not sure that I make it to 400 times a day, but I know it’s well over 17. There’s so much in life to smile about! 🙂

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