The Endless Benefits of Laughter

Dear Sugar
I am a type A person who gets stressed out often. Because I don't want to take any anti-anxiety medication, I try my best to do yoga at least a few times a week. Is there anything that I can do (preferably that takes a minute or less) when life just generally feels too overwhelming? Tense Tinsley

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Dear Tense Tinsley
Wow, you really are type A. I'll try to keep my response under a minute for you. There are many different stress related exercises that you can do while at work that all include taking a few long, deep breaths. This slows down your heart rate and helps to center your energy. You can make yourself a cup of herbal tea (the aroma and the soothing taste is extremely calming) or you can pick up the phone, call a friend and have a hearty belly laugh!

Believe it or not, laughter is a wonderful way to release tension, boost your health and help your moods. People who are ill, have even been known to help cure themselves through laughter. It's great for the soul and it's a great way to expend emotions. Laughter also happens to help form bonds and close connections in relationships as well as work as a naturally wonderful digestive since it expands your lungs. Plus, laughter is free!

One minute of laughing has been reported to keep you feeling relaxed for nearly an hour. Laughter lowers the levels of stress hormones in your body while promoting the production of endorphins (Shape Magazine, July 06).

It is said that even the anticipation of laughing causes you to become happier. You also increase the oxygen that gets to your blood and your body gets its own little vibrational, natural massage.

So when you find that you are spending more time being brought down, pick yourself up with a good old fashioned minute long laugh. Go for the kind where your sides hurt when you are finished. There is no other feeling that works as much good for your body as laughter does.

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