Sleep lets brain to reset its synapses or memory-storing connections that send signals between neurons. In waking hours, synapses grow to let information gathered through the day’s experiences to travel throughout the brain. During sleep, the synapses shrink. Without the sleep, the brain gets overwhelmed with irrelevant information and memories, which certainly would not help brain’s function.
Humans prefer attractive faces over unattractive ones. Our preference for attractive faces exists from early infancy and is robust across age, gender and ethnicity. The quest to define facial beauty either by the size or shape of isolated facial features, for example, eyes or lips or by the spatial relations between facial features dates back to antiquity, when the Ancient Greeks believed beauty was represented by a golden ratio of 1:1.618. Although there is little support for the golden ratio, studies have shown that averaging a group of faces results in a synthetic face more attractive than any of the originals. Furthermore, a sufficiently large increase in the distance between the eyes and mouth of an individual face can make the face appear grotesque. Any individual’s facial attractiveness can be optimized when the spatial relations between facial features approximate those of the average face. However, no evidence to date has confirmed this suggestion.
Two types of alterations can be made to the spatial relations between facial features of any individual face. One may alter the vertical distance between the eyes and the mouth; this alteration results in a change in the ratio of this distance to the face length, which is measured by the distance between the hairline and the chin. The ratio is henceforth referred to as the length ratio. The other alteration is to change the horizontal distance between the pupils; this change alters the ratio between this distance and the face width, which is measured between the inner edges of the ears. This ratio is henceforth referred to as the width ratio.
Using a regression analysis to determine the exact relation between the attractiveness score and length ratio, it is found that facial attractiveness follows a curvilinear function with length ratio. Face with an average length ratio is rated as more attractive than faces with other length ratios. This is further supported by the finding that attractiveness scores for faces without an average length ratio were significantly less than the mean attractiveness score for the faces with an average length ratio.
When an optimally attractive state for an individual face in terms of both length and width ratios is examined, it is found that facial attractiveness follows a curvilinear function with the width ratio. When an individual face’s length ratio is already optimal, the optimal width ratio maximizing its attractiveness is 46. Attractiveness scores for faces without an average width ratio were significantly less than the mean attractiveness score for the faces with an average width ratio. Attractiveness scores for faces without an average length ratio were significantly less than the mean attractiveness score for the faces with an average length ratio indicating preference for an ideal length ratio is independent of the width ratio.
In each individual face, there exists an optimally attractive state in terms of both length and width ratios. When the face’s eye-to-mouth distance is 36 percent of the face length and interocular distance is 46 percent of the face width, the face reaches its optimal attractiveness given its unique facial features. Further, although the absolute level of attractiveness may vary with differences in facial features, the optimal length and width ratios remain constant. These optimal, golden ratios correspond with those of an average face. Critically, this preference for average ratios reflects a true preference for the average and not a regression toward the mean. These results may explain some basic daily observations, such as why some hairstyles can make an unattractive face appear more attractive or vice versa. Changing one’s hairstyle may alter the perceived face length or face width, as well as their related length and width ratios, therefore affecting the perceived attractiveness of the face.
Many experiments on attractiveness involve comparing faces that differ in both facial features and spatial relations, but the presence of features that vary in attractiveness could obscure any effect of variation in feature spatial relation on attractiveness. Also, prior research comparing an average face to individual faces failed to discover the ideal length and width ratios for any individual face because the averaging process tends to not only average the spatial relations between facial features but also smoothes the facial features and skin texture. This smoothing effect could artificially increase the attractiveness of the average face, obscuring the effect of average spatial relations on facial attractiveness.
Identifying the optimal length and width ratios for individual facial beauty have attracted a tremendous amount of pursuit, but yet eluded discovery for centuries. Furthermore, the present findings suggest that although different faces vary greatly in absolute attractiveness, for any particular face, there is an optimal spatial relation between facial features that will reveal its intrinsic beauty.
It should be noted that the optimal spatial relations found can also coexist with preferences for sexually dimorphic features. A woman who has large lips, suggesting a strong mating potential, with average length and width ratios will always be more attractive than a woman with narrow lips and average length and width ratios. It is unknown, however, whether the preference for average length and width ratios is stronger than the desire for a pronounced sexually dimorphic trait. In other words, a woman with large lips and unattractive length and width ratios may or may not be preferred to a woman with narrow lips and ideal length and width ratios. Future research is necessary to assess the nature of this trade-off.
By definition, eye-mouth-eye angle involves both horizontal and vertical components. The preference for an average length ratio is independent of the width ratio. Therefore, it is important to note that despite the similarity between the two measures, they may actually measure two very different aspects of the face. While eye-mouth-eye angle provides information on the spatial relations between internal facial features, it also assesses the relation between the internal features and the external facial contour. Since faces are perceived holistically, it is important to consider the facial elements in the context of the whole face. It is possible for the length and width ratios to vary, while eye-mouth-eye angle stays the same, and vice versa. In the context of the whole face length ratios and width ratios appear independent, but within the localized area of the eyes and mouth, there may be an interaction between length and width.
Why should we find a face with an average length and width ratio attractive? Two existing theories provide explanations at two different levels. At the evolutionary level, it has been suggested that humans prefer to reproduce with other healthy mates. Generations of healthy mate selection may act as an evolutionary averaging process. This process leads to the propagation of healthy individuals with physical characteristics, including faces that approximate the population average. As a result, we are biologically predisposed to find average faces attractive. At the cognitive level, it is well established that after exposure to a series of exemplars from one object category, we form a prototype, that is to say, an average for this category. One robust consequence of prototype formation is that we find the prototype more attractive than any individual category members because the prototype is easier to process. Due to this same cognitive averaging mechanism, the average face is perceived as more attractive than any individual face. It is suggested that while the two theories provide different levels of explanation, they may work together to account for our preferences for the optimal length and width ratios for facial beauty. The evolutionary process predisposes us to find average length and width ratios attractive. The cognitive process prescribes what the average length and width ratios are by averaging the ratios of individual faces we have encountered to date.
Happiness is a slippery concept. Sometimes it seems to us like mythical, wonderful, but probably unobtainable, but happiness is more than obtainable. It is the natural result of building up our well-being and satisfaction with life. The building blocks of well-being constitute positive emotion, engagement, relationships, meaning and accomplishment. Each of these elements is essential to our well-being and satisfaction with life. Together, they form the solid foundation upon which we can build a happy and flourishing life.
When someone asks you whether you are satisfied with your life, your answer depends heavily on the mood you are in. When you are feeling positive, you can look back on the past with gladness; look into the future with hope; and enjoy and cherish the present. Positive emotions have an impact that goes far beyond bringing a smile to our faces. Feeling good helps us to perform better at work and study, it boosts our physical health, it strengthens our relationships, and it inspires us to be creative, take chances, and look to the future with optimism and hope. Feeling good is contagious. Seeing smiles makes us want to smile. Hearing laughter makes us feel like laughing and when we share our good feelings with others, they appreciate and enjoy our company. We have all experienced highs and lows in life, but we are doing ourselves harm when we dwell on the lows. If we look back on the past with pain and regret, we will become depressed. If we think of the future and worry about danger and risk, we become anxious and pessimistic. So it is incredibly important to recognize the positive emotions we feel, so that we are able to enjoy the present without worry and regret.
Spending time with friends and family, engaging in hobbies, exercising, getting out in nature, or eating great food makes us feel good. We need to make sure there is always room in our lives for these things. Cultivating positive emotions makes it easier to experience them naturally. Many of us have an automatic tendency to expect the worst, see the downside, and avoid taking risks. If we learn to cultivate positive feelings about life, we begin to hope for the best, see the upside, and learn to take great opportunities when they come along.
We don’t thrive when we are doing nothing. We get bored and feel useless, but when we engage with our life and work, we become absorbed. We gain momentum and focus, and we can enter the state of being known as ‘flow’. Flow is a state of utter, blissful immersion in the present moment. When you are lying in bed, it is often hard to convince yourself to throw off the covers and plant your feet on the ground. You worry about the cold. You feel tired and sluggish. You lie in bed, thinking but not getting anywhere, but when you are running, you don’t question anything. You are flying through space; one foot goes in front of the other, and again, and again, because it must. You are absorbed entirely in the present moment.
Not everyone enjoys running, but perhaps you feel this way when you are playing music, painting, dancing or cooking. If you have a job you love, you probably feel this way at work. We are most likely to fulfill our own unique potential when we are engaged in activities that absorb and inspire us. When we identify our own greatest strengths, we can consciously engage in work and activities that make us feel most confident, productive and valuable. We can also learn skills for cultivating joy and focus on the present. Mindfulness is a valuable skill. Using mindfulness, you can learn to develop clear awareness of the present, both physically and mentally.
Humans are social animals. We have a need for connection, love, physical and emotional contact with others. We enhance our own well-being by building strong networks of relationships around us, with family, friends, coworkers, neighbors and all the other people in our lives. A problem shared is a problem halved. Happiness shared is happiness squared. When we share our joy with those we love, we feel even more joy, and when we love, we become more loveable.
We depend on the people around us to help us maintain balance in our lives. When we are alone, we lose perspective on the world, and we forget that others may be bearing greater burdens than our own, but when we let other people into our lives, we remember to give as well as take. When you belong to a community, you have a network of support around you, and you are part of it.
It is important to build and maintain relationships with the people in your life, but it is equally important to recognize the difference between a healthy relationship and a damaging one. Some relationships are dangerous because they are one-sided or co-dependent. Other relationships struggle because people take each other for granted, don’t make time for each other, or can’t seem to communicate. The key to relationships is balance. It is not enough to surround ourselves with friends; we must also listen and share, make an effort to maintain our connections, and work to make those connections strong.
We are at our best when we dedicate our time to something greater than ourselves. This could be religious faith, community work, family, a political cause, charity, professional or creative goal. People who belong to a community and pursue shared goals are happier than people who don’t. It is also very important to feel that the work we do is consistent with our personal values and beliefs. From day to day, if we believe our work is worthwhile, we feel a general sense of well-being and confidence that we are using our time and our abilities for good.
It might be family, or learning, or our faith we value most in this world. Perhaps, you feel strongly about helping disadvantaged children, or protecting the environment. Once you have identified what matters most to you, find some like-minded people and begin working together for the things you care about. You can find meaning in your professional life as well as your personal one. If you see a deeper mission in the work you do, you are better placed to apply your talents and strengths in the service of this mission.
We have all been taught that winning isn’t everything. We should strive for success, but it’s more important to enjoy the game. However, people need to win sometimes. What use are goals and ambitions if we never reach them? For well-being and happiness, we must look back on our lives with a sense of accomplishment like, ‘I did it, and I did it well’. Creating and working toward goals helps us anticipate and build hope for the future. Past successes make us feel more confident and optimistic about future attempts. There is nothing bad or selfish about being proud of your accomplishments. When you feel good about yourself, you are more likely to share your skills and secrets with others. You will be motivated to work harder and achieve more next time. You inspire people around you to achieve their own goals.
It is important to set tangible goals, and keep them in sight. Identify your ambitions and cultivate the strengths you need in order to reach them. It is a great way to keep focused on your long-term goals and acknowledge the little successes along with the big ones. It is vital to cultivate resilience against failure and setbacks. Success doesn’t always come easy, but if we stay positive and focused, we don’t give up when adversity strikes.
All Credits goes to Martin Seligman.