Womens Focus — February 2013
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Celebrate National Laugh-Friendly Month AND Laugh JEST FOR THE Health OF IT?
Jae Pierce-Baba


Celebrate National Laugh-Friendly Month

Sense of Humor: a developed set of psychological or physical traits used to alleviate stress in times of crisis, chaos and rapid change.

Humor can be defined as that which makes us laugh, smile, or amuses us. Laugh-Friendly Month celebrates laughter and friends. Both are needed for a healthy heart and a happy life. The best moments are moments of laughter! Most people like to laugh and everyone enjoys being with people who bring laughter with them. Humor puts people at ease and is the great common denominator.

Humor is considered one of the top five traits people look for in a relationship and it has been proven to be a positive force for wellness and healing. Humor has been shown to decrease anxiety, anger and fear, and promote relaxation and healing. Humor enhances the immune system and is a powerful coping mechanism against stress. Shared humor builds bridges and increases positive communication, even through barriers of language or culture. When people are laughing together, conflict is more easily resolved and tension is diffused. Look for relationships with happy people and spend time with people who make you laugh. If you hang around with miserable people, you get what you deserve!

We don’t need scientists to tell us that laughter makes us feel good. Happy people feel alive, energetic, confident and are high-spirited: that is why we are attracted to people that have these characteristics. Have you ever noticed how hard it is to argue with a person that isn’t neurotic – someone who just does not want to be dragged down into the whine cellar of life? Studies show that successful people are generally liked by everyone and make it a priority in life to be flexible and to go through each day and enjoy it.

Laughter, along with an active sense of humor, may help protect against heart disease/heart attack. According to a new study by cardiologists at the University of Maryland in Baltimore, researchers found that people with heart disease were 40 percent less likely to laugh in a variety of situations compared to people the same age without heart disease. These researchers found a link between laughter and healthy function of blood vessels in that laughter causes increased blood flow, which reduces blood pressure.

Aside from improving our mood, hearty laughter releases carbon dioxide which reduces body acidity and inflammation, which are known to be cardiac risk factors.

STRATEGIES TO INCREASE YOUR LAUGHTER FACTOR:
-Remember: she who laughs…lasts.
-Take yourself lightly: have a humor ritual or positive quote of the day.
-Use children as humor mentors: write down what they say for future smiles.
-Play to stay healthy: play diverts our attention to more pleasurable matters.
-Be present: learn to be appreciative of whatever you are doing at THIS moment – we spend too much time thinking of the past and worrying about the future.
-Scream: roll up your windows in the car, get in a car wash, or wrap a towel around your head and let out a scream or howl for joy – a great way to let go of tension and anger.
-Increase your comic vision: look to the humor around you – it’s everywhere!
-Surround yourself with humorous props: wear Groucho Marx glasses driving to work – at a stoplight, look to the car beside you. You are your own entertainment center!
-Learn 3-5 basic clean jokes: tell them at work, the cleaners, the grocery store – leave them laughing!
-Create and find healthy ways to separate yourself from work, people, places or things that are stressful.

Re-energizing yourself with laughter and humor is serious business. Make yourself a priority – don’t postpone joy – don’t wait until you have caused harm to yourself before you start enjoying your life. Practice happiness, teach your children happiness, make happiness a deliberate practice. Start a tradition of high levels of humor and happiness today – your body and your friends will thank you.
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