“By the time a child reaches nursery school, he or she will laugh 300 times a day. Adults laugh an average of 17 times a day.” (Discovery Health).
Do you laugh every day or have you discovered that as an adult you have neglected such activities because you are supposed to be producing, achieving, and focused on your goals? Today Americans are finding that they are laughter deprived… are you one of the victims?
What are the benefits of laughter?
Reduces stress (laughter stimulates both sides of our brain and eases muscle tension)
Lowers our blood pressure
Elevates our mood (and gives our body a good workout)
Boosts our immune system (releases antibodies)
Improves our brain functioning
Helps us lose weight (laughter actually burns calories)
Helps us connect with others
Why do we need humor & laughter?
Laughter replaces negative emotions with pleasurable feelings
Laughter changes our focus and our behavior. When we use humor in a conversation we tend to talk more, make more eye contact, and we touch more.
Laughter increases our energy level and makes us feel vital.
Laughter makes us feel good and heals our emotional pain.
Laughter helps us move from a place of negativity into a place of gratitude and a way to see the positive in our life.
Laughter and humor are some safe ways to introduce ourselves to others (connection)
How can you expand your sense of humor?
Look for everyday humor. Look for absurd, silly or funny things that happen around you and rejoice in their humor.
Watch children. Observe how they delight in the little things around them in everyday life.
Increase your exposure to humor. Watch comedies, read joke books, listen to funny stories of others, read the “joke a day” online.
Hang around with funny friends. Funny people are everywhere, you just have to look around and you will find humorous people surrounding you.
If you hear a joke you like write it down. Make sure you tell someone else the joke you learned and brighten their day.
Being in love isn’t the only thing that creates a happy and enduring relationship. Statistics show that almost one-half of all marriages end in divorce. This staggering statistic illustrates that the art of finding and maintaining healthy relationships might be an elusive commodity.
What is the most commonly forgotten element of a healthy relationship? Surpassingly, the answer is quite simple. You must learn to love yourself before you can love someone else. Anytime you are not connected with yourself, or find yourself “lost” in a relationship, you can be assured of unhappiness.
Here are the 6 Key Elements of a Healthy Relationship
A relationship encourages individuality. Healthy relationships encourage partners to have their own interests, friends, and can have time of separation without fear of abandonment.
A healthy relationship invites growth. Healthy relationships are ever changing and bring new ideas, concepts, friendships, sharing new interests, and learning. If the growth stops, the relationship will become stagnant, boring, and distant.
A healthy relationship embraces good communication. It is a relationship in which it is safe to express feelings of all types, in an appropriate manner. Healthy relationships allow space to discuss your fears, your hurt, your grief,anger, and disappointment in a non-threatening way.
It is a relationship that builds self-esteem. Healthy relationships make us feel good about who we are as a person. It is characterized by living with your best friend, your cheerleader, and the person who builds you up.
It is a relationship that is built on a strong commitment to resolution. Healthy relationships, which are enduring, are ones that find ways to negotiate, compromise, and handle conflicts and adversity.
A relationship is built on the 5 to 1 principle: Research indicates that in a healthy and enduring relationship, the partners give five compliments, statements of appreciation and positive comments to every one negative statement. Try it and you will see amazing change!
We all have them, but how do our thoughts affect our daily life? Many of us never consider the amazing power imbedded in our every thought. Neglected and ignored, many thoughts pass through our minds and the effects are not realized and analyzed.
But each of our thoughts has meaning, a purpose, and a rationale for entering our mind. Let’s look at some of the current research that centers around our thoughts. Here’s the important question to consider:
Do your thoughts bring a balance and harmony to your day or do they create a fearful chaotic world that produces anxiety?
What do we know about the quantity of our thoughts?
Scientists believe we have 60,000 thoughts a each and every day
When you look at the fact that you have so many thoughts, it is astonishing to realize this is one thought per second (in our waking hours)
95% of those thoughts are repetitive (ones you had yesterday and the day before). Wow, no wonder it is so hard to break destructive thought patterns!
80% of repetitive thoughts are negative.
How do negative thoughts affect us?
The National Institute of Health measured the flow of blood to the brain and found that positive thoughts create calming and tranquil message that benefits the brain
Negative thoughts stimulate areas of the brain that produce anxiety and depression.
Poison vs. Medicine: Negative thoughts are like poison and positive thoughts are like medicine that produce harmony and balance.
How can we change our thoughts to create new positive ones?
Reality check: Remember that all of your thoughts aren’t always true. This means it is important to analyze thoughts for accuracy and reality.
Don’t believe everything you think. Be willing to question your thoughts and ask if this is really true or just an intuition or fear.
Focus on gratitude and try to be grateful for the positives you have (your family, your job that supports you, a nice place to live, a beautiful day, good friends, etc). Grateful people are happier people and they hold on to positive thoughts and experiences.
Smiles—do they have meaning? Are you one of those people who puts a smile on your face when you know it’s not genuine? Does your face tell people that your smile is something thatis forced and stiff? Or does your smile shine from within and tend to bring people closer to you?
You might be surprised that recent studies have shown that a “genuine” smile can enhance and benefit your life in ways that you might not realize. In fact, a genuine smile just might help you live a longer and happier life.
The power of a smile.
Researchers have found that smiling can slow down our heart rate and eliminate stress. This happens even when we are not aware of showing that grin. The simple act of smiling tends to calm our body and soul.
The pure act of smiling has been proven to enhance our happiness ratio and creates a more optimistic view of life that surrounds us.
Research shows that a genuine full grin has the potential to affect our body in a positive ways & even a “polite” smile can also bring benefits. Health benefits include an increase in those “feel good” hormones, lower rates of anxiety, and relaxed muscles.
The Journal of Psychological Science study reports that those who engaged in smiling after a stress inducing tasks had a greater reduction in heart rate than those who had no facial grin.
What else does the research show?
When we smile it sends a message to the brain that signals safety and it translates into real health benefits.
The act of smiling sends cortisol to our brain, which lowers our stress levels.
A University of California study showed that the intensity of a person’s smile can predict life satisfaction over time and even the longevity of participants.
Research also shows that people who smile more tend to elicit more positive responses from strangers and more positive connections.
So take a moment and let your smile shine through. The simple act just might help you re-connect with those around you and help you live a whole lot longer!
Work environments have really changed. Job sites were once a place where employees felt secure economically and were assured of their job placement. Today, many work environments are places of tension, anxiety and heightened fear. In fact, a recent Neilson report noted that over 80% of Americans feel stressed by one or more issues at their job.
Spending the greatest portion of your life at your workplace, more and more employees are discovering that their offices are filled with impossible expectations, heightened demands, and toxic situations. As the tension grows, the pressure tends to put a huge demand on workers physical and mental health.
Career Builders reports 4 key reasons why work environments have become stressful
People are feeling anxiety, fear and pressure in the world and within their relationships and they tend to bring their own emotions to the workplace.
Employees are being asked to do more with fewer resources, which puts everyone in a place of heightened anxiety, feeling overwhelmed and under appreciated.
Employees feel like they must perform under the pressure or that they will be pink-slipped, laid off, or replaced by outsourcing employees. These things only add to the negativity on the job site.
The economic conditions are on a downswing and employees are fearful to leave their jobs, take an earned vacation, or time-off despite their need for self-care.
Here are some tips for keeping your job from becoming toxic.
Don’t be part of the problem. Learn to stay away from gossip and complaining. When you become part of the problem you increase your negativity level and elevate your anxiety and stress.
Try not to over react. When we feel stressed in the workplace, we tend to react to things around us. Tempers fly, people become irritable and terse and that’s the time to slow down. Learn to evaluate the situation and be calm. The key is to stay away from the drama.
Try to align with positive people. If you are in a toxic environment, the worse thing you can do is align with others who are toxic—this only fills you with the fuel of unhappiness.
Workplace negativity can make you sick. If you notice you are getting more backaches, headaches, or upset stomachs, it might be your body telling you that you are in need to get some distance from the job. Set some limits on hours you work, boundaries with other workers, and maintain a life outside of your job.
Talk it over. Many work places offer Employee Assistance Programs or benefits to see counselors. Most therapists are trained to help with stress management, boundary settings and helping you find a real balance in your life. Typically, you can get some real helpful techniques in just one or two sessions.
The tough choice. If it is unbearable you need to change your viewpoint or move out of the environment. This may seem like a horrible solution to the problem, but some workplace environments are too toxic and it’s not worth your mental or physical health.