What's A Smile Got To Do With It?

What's A Smile Got To Do With It?

Surprisingly, the answer is: a lot.
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Have you ever been walking down the street and been so engrossed in a rather upsetting thought in your mind that you've had a perpetually distraught look on your face? Have you ever seen anyone else like this? How did that make you feel? Think about the moments when you've seen someone smiling. Even if it's just to them. How did they make you feel?

Feelings are of course very subjective, but generally people model behavior. You see someone smiling and laughing, and you don't have a reason not to join in, so you smile to yourself too. People's positivity rubs off on you. In the same way, when someone is in a bad mood, it doesn't take much for you to have your mood spoiled either.

How many times have you walked down the street and passed by someone you know, and you've exchanged a smile and a "Hey!"? How did that make you feel? How many times has someone passed you by and not acknowledged you, and how did that make you feel? These questions may seem incredibly arbitrary, but they're designed to illustrate how important it is to pay attention to the people around you and the way you're presenting yourself.

Even just passing by smiling or frowning strangers can make you feel differently, however subconscious or subtle the feeling is. I've tried to adopt the principle in life to always be a smiling persona, no matter where I'm passing by, I should always find myself smiling. Or at the very least, not frowning.

A simple smile goes a long, long way, as we've all heard. In fact, some studies have shown that a simple smile, even shared among strangers, makes people feel as though they already know each other. The science behind that theory has to do with our ancient ancestors, where human survival depended on groups, so humans would smile as a way to show friendliness to one another. The tiny smile that you see on passer-by's faces?

That actually has some real scientific reasoning, called subliminal priming, that backs up why you feel more positive or happier. Mirroring has been researched too; people mimic what they see. Even if it's just for a fleeting second, you mimic the smiles that you see in a crowd of people.

Think about how many times you've been served coffee by someone with a smile. A real smile, not a fake, half-smile that just made you feel uncomfortable. Those experiences usually leave you with the best customer satisfaction, right? Employers actually work that kind of training into their customer service models, for this exact reason. Seeing a smile makes you smile, and smiles mean you're happy.

So, all in all, spreading positivity can be as simple as putting a smile on your face when walking down the street.

Cover Image Credit: Maya Thomas

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Everything You Need To Know About BANG Energy Drinks

Say goodbye to your favorite pre-workout drink.
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BANG energy drinks from VPX Sports are the hottest new products for athletes everywhere. On every can, you'll find their catchphrase "Potent Brain & Body Fuel" and it gives you just that. Clean energy, laser-sharp focus, and no sugar induced crashes are just a few of the reasons these bad boys are flying off the shelves faster than retailers can keep them stocked. Haven't heard of them? Sound too good to be true? Let me answer your questions.

What is it? It's an energy drink that's kind of like your typical Red Bull or Monster. It's a perfect substitution for pre-workout supplements or coffee.

Who's it meant for? Anyone! A better question to ask is, "Who isn't this drink meant for?" On the can, you'll find a recommendation for no one under the age of 18 to consume the drink. You also may want to steer clear of it if you're sensitive to stimulants like caffeine.

What's in it? BANG energy drinks contain zero calories, zero carbohydrates, and zero sugar. But what you can find are BCAA's, CoQ10, creatine, and copious amounts of caffeine. These are things athletes often take as supplements.

What are BCAA's? BCAA's are Branched Chain Amino Acids. They are known to stimulate protein synthesis, increase muscle function, decrease your soreness after a workout, and even aid in repairing damaged muscles.

What's CoQ10? Coenzyme Q10 is found in the mitochondria of your cells and sparks energy production. It helps produce energy your body needs for cell growth and maintenance. People often take this as a dietary supplement when they feel tired or lethargic.

What's super creatine? Creatine does a great job in enhancing athletic performance by aiding growth of lean body mass (AKA muscle). When you take creatine orally, the amount in your muscles increase and helps regenerate ATP more efficiently. According to the nutrition label, this so-called "super" creatine is bonded to Leucine to make Creatyl-L-Leucine. On SupplementReviews.com, a VPX Sports representative allegedly said the following about the Super Creatine in the drink:

"The creatine in there is actually something very special...it is the world's only water stable creatine. It is Creatine-Leucine peptide. Think of this...if you mix creatine in water, it sinks and if you mix leucine in water, it floats....if you combine the two into a peptide, it creates a water soluble and water-stable form of creatine. It also has a fatty acid chain that makes it easier to cross the blood brain barrier. The focus of the super creatine is not for muscle function, but for cognition...by combining this form of creatine with caffeine, it works synergistically for mental focus."

How much caffeine is in one can? In one can of BANG, you'll be blessed with 300mg of caffeine. This is the equivalent to over three cups of coffee.

Is that even safe? Yeah, it is. In order for the caffeine in the energy drink to be lethal at any capacity, I would have to drink 30.7 cans.

So, what are the downsides? There are two things that come to mind. One is that consumers have no idea how much BCAA's, CoQ10, or creatine is actually in the drink. It could very likely be trace amounts too small to do anything beneficial. Two, BANG energy drinks do not go through the FDA approval process.

Is it really that good? Well, out of 113 reviews of the product on Bodybuilding.com, there's an average 9.6 overall rating. Most reviews comment on the quality of the energy, the cognitive focus, and the non-existent crash once the drink wears off.

What kind of flavors can I get? There are currently eight BANG energy drink flavors on the market: Black Cherry Vanilla, Cotton Candy, Sour Heads, Star Blast, Blue Razz, Champagne Cola, Power Punch, and Lemon Drop.

Where can I buy BANG energy drinks? You can find BANG energy drinks at Amazon, your local GNC or Vitamin Shoppe retailers, Bodybuilding.com, VPX Sports' website, some gas stations, and privately owned retailers.

How expensive are they? This depends on where you make your purchase. The cheapest place to purchase your BANG energy drinks is at Bodybuilding.com for about $2.00 per can. You can find similar prices on Amazon and at your local retailers. The energy drinks are most expensive through the VPX website where you'll pay about $2.75 per can.

How does BANG compare to other energy drinks? I'll give you some data on nutrition facts and you can make your decisions based on that:

16 oz. BANG: 300mg caffeine, 0g carbohydrates, 0g sugar.

16 oz. Monster Energy (regular): 160mg caffeine, 54g carbohydrates, 54g sugar

16 oz. Red Bull (regular): 160mg caffeine, 56g carbohydrates, 56g sugar

16 oz. Rockstar (regular): 144g caffeine, 54g carbohydrates, 54g sugar

Cover Image Credit: Youtube

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