Is Your Smile On Hold Most of the Time?

By Sandy Schroeder

Life really can become an insidious circle. When pressure builds and smiles disappear, one scowl after another can follow, pushing people away, and locking in a bad mood, or worse, sadness and depression.

But there is a simple way to turn things around. Good old fashioned laughter, ranging from giggles to belly laughs, can help the body, and the mind, with health benefits like these, according to Care2.com

How Laughter Helps Health

Arm the Body – Laughter can bring blood pressure down, improving blood flow and oxygen content.

Shrink Stress – Laughter cuts stress hormones, cortisol and adrenaline.

Muffle Pain – Laughter activates the pituitary gland with pain cutting natural opiates.

Mind Tool -  Laughter promotes creativity, better memory, more alertness.

Sly Workout – Laughter can exercise the diaphragm, face, leg, back, abdomen and respiratory system.

Tackle Germs – Laughter fights respiratory infections, and reduces colds.

How to Make Humor Work for You

If this appeals to you, laughter as a health agent is easy. There are no pills to take or exercises to do. All you have to do is expose yourself to the funny stuff that makes you laugh and learn how your attitude can help you laugh instead of growl.

Build Up a Fun/Funny Reserve – Start collecting funny sayings, hysterical videos, favorite comedians, funny movies and clever authors. All of those funny people and ideas can help you release tension and keep your balance. Whenever you are tempted to go completely negative, take a minute and pull up something funny.

Playing with Others – When you are in groups, watch the ones who enjoy being there and are usually getting the most done. Learn from their approach. When someone goes on the negative, they usually manage to steer everything back to a positive, forward direction. In general, they are the ones you would enjoy having a beer with later.

When Criticism Rains Down – Whenever criticism or negative people show up in your life, listen carefully and respond with your most level take on the situation. Instead of scowling, take a deep breath and smile.  That may confuse your opponent and give you time to regroup as you evaluate the criticism and figure out what it’s all about.

Moving Around Barriers – In a busy society, we all run into stop signs as we hear someone say the event is all sold out, there’s only one lane ahead, or please call back later. Stay calm and use your head to maneuver around the obstacles -- and move on.

Perspective really is all it is.  Every time you can smile, giggle or laugh, instead of frown, you and your body win. Keep looking for the funny side of life. Smiles and attitudes really can be contagious. Don't be surprised if you see more and more people smiling back. 

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