Most of you have probably figured out by now that I’m generally a pretty upbeat person. While I do have my days, I’m generally able to fight through most miseries that come my way and motor on, and laughter is usually my weapon of choice in dealing with…well, anything. (My whole family is like this, so I learned from the best. We laugh through everything.)
Laughter is promoted as a means of reducing stress, lowering blood pressure, improving mood, and boosting immune systems. Thus, it can actually help in the fight against, and possibly prevent or reduce, the effects of high blood pressure, stroke, arthritis, and ulcers. It does a pretty good number on the weight loss fight as well. Kind of hard to brood when you’re laughing your fanny off over your stability ball adventures. *g*
A good belly laugh can also serve as a physical workout, of sorts, just by the systems and muscles it uses. I don’t know about you, but I frequently laugh until my sides hurt, my breath is coming in gasps, and a Depends would’ve come in handy. Very similar to my elliptical machine experience. Which is why I chose laughter as this week’s makeover topic.
I strongly believe that joy and laughter can be key to the successful lifestyle transformation process, especially for those of us who have (or had) a really long journey to make.
If you think about it, we learned how to laugh before we were even able to feed ourselves or do more than wiggle around in our cribs. Fast forward a whole buncha years, and we’re feeding ourselves and doing a new kind of wiggling, but we frequently forget that laughter came first.
From the referenced article, here are a few things we can do to “lighten up”:
– View your life in context. Even world leaders realize they have limited ability to affect others’ lives. While we might think taking the weight of the world on our shoulders is admirable, in the long run it’s unrealistic, unproductive, unhealthy and even egotistical.
– Be less serious. Realize that while your ambitions may be noble, being overly serious about them weighs you down and lessens your chances for achieving them.
– Deal with your stress. Stress is a major impediment to humor and laughter.
– Dress less seriously.
– Keep a toy on your desk or in your car.
– Laugh at yourself. Share your embarrassing moments. The best way to take ourselves less seriously is talk about times when we took ourselves too seriously.
– Pay attention to children and emulate them. They are the experts on playing, taking life lightly, and laughing.
One of the great things about laughter is that it lingers. The images and sounds that made us laugh to begin with are stored in our memories and can be summoned when life gets a little too intense. (And, Lord knows, the path to The Fit Life can be intense at times. ) We can choose to focus on the negative intensity or to find the funny in it and laugh our way through the storm.
Two memories from my teen years have stayed with me and simply thinking about them will almost always bring a smile and boost my mood. Luckily for me and for you, I found them on youtube! Both are clips from The Carol Burnett Show and are a little dated, but even watching them this morning, 20 years or so after I first saw them, I had a good belly laugh:
I feel like laughing some more. Who has a joke or a funny story or link to share? What makes YOU laugh?
Have a Happy Monday…and lighten up!
*Photo by speechless via Flickr