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The Best Medicine
When’s the Last Time You Laughed Until You Cried?
A few years ago, I was visiting an assisted living facility when I saw a sign on someone’s door that I loved so much I had to take a picture of it. The sign read, “We don’t stop laughing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop laughing.” It’s just so true. I love to laugh, especially roaring belly laughs that leave tears streaming down my cheeks. Laughter truly is the best medicine. April is National Humor Month, which means it is a great time to look at all the benefits of laughter. A good laugh really is good for our health, and it’s especially good for the health of seniors. When we laugh, our blood vessels relax, which means our blood pressure goes down. Laughter also boosts the immune system by decreasing the levels of stress hormones like cortisol. Laughing is also a form of pain relief because it releases endorphins that make our bodies feel good. Because laughter is so good for you, it’s a real shame that adults don’t laugh more. Studies have shown that the average 4-year-old laughs at least 300 times a day, but the average 40-year-old laughs just four times a day! As we get older, we have to make an effort to keep our sense of humor and keep laughing. This can be easier when we have people around who make us laugh. My grandmother and I used to laugh together all the time, often at each other. We were so close, we’d finish each other’s sentences, and then we’d just start laughing. My grandmother had a great sense of humor and the best laugh. The hardest I ever heard my grandmother laugh when I was 19 years old. I was living with my grandmother at the time, and one night I heard a strange noise from somewhere in the
house. Not long after, a helicopter passed overhead.
We were in the city, so whenever I heard helicopters outside at night, I immediately thought there was a criminal on the loose.
Summoning up some courage, I quietly tiptoed out of my room to investigate. As I was creeping around the corner, I ran into someone in the dark. I did what any reasonable person would do in that situation: I screamed as loud as I could and took a defensive position by dropping on all fours on the ground. Moments later I heard my grandmother laughing. She was the one I’d bumped into. “You would have scared the poor burglar!” she told me, nearly doubled-over in laughter. “If there had been a burglar, that reaction would have scared them good.” It was pretty embarrassing at the time, but now it’s one of my favorite stories to laugh about. This month, I encourage all our readers to laugh more. Watch a funny movie, share silly stories with a friend or family member, or take a walk and look at all the things that make you smile. Having a good sense of humor and laughing freely really help you focus on the positive in life. A good laugh just makes the day feel brighter.
Cindy Saunders, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
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A Golden Opportunity in Your Golden Years
Forget the Money Money matters, but it shouldn’t be your first priority on the job hunt. Instead, consider what’s going to make you the happiest. What’s your dream job? What have you always enjoyed doing? If money wasn’t an option, what would you be doing right now instead of counting down the hours to 5 p.m.? Be realistic in your goals and find something you love. Seek Guidance Remember, you’re not alone in this fight! Plenty of people switch careers midway through their lives to focus on something they really enjoy. Seek guidance from those who have had a similar experience and look to professional job hunters or consultants for help. Furthermore, after years in the same job or industry, you’re bound to have made a few connections. Reach out for professional support. Regardless of what path you choose, remember that a career you enjoy is always possible. We can’t promise that you’ll love getting up at 6 a.m., but at least you won’t dread what comes next. Ask Other Nomads Crowdsource advice from friends and family members who’ve taken the leap. Lots of other people have shared your dream and made it a reality. Many have turned their experience into books or blogs, like Lynne Martin, who’s been traveling around the world with her husband, Tim, for the last three years. The Martins used the sale of their home to finance their travels. They also take cruises to cut down on travel costs and often dine in to save money. Do Your Research If you have a specific place in mind for your retirement, like Hawaii or Texas, look at rental costs and other lifestyle changes that can affect your budget. For example, Hawaii’s cost of living is cheaper than other popular retirement states, like Florida, but basic commodities may be more expensive. If a boat or RV is more your style, be sure to add repair and fuel costs into your budget. As you go about researching and planning, be sure to consult with your financial advisor so they can help you look at your current situation and make adjustments. With the proper planning, you’ll be living your nomadic dream in no time.
It’s 6 a.m. on Monday morning, and your alarm clock blares in your face. You groan and, with the thought of another week looming over you, pull yourself out of bed. But the early wake-up call is the least of your worries. Another week has begun, and you’re still stuck in a job that you no longer love or maybe never did. 3 Tips for Changing Careers Later in Life Does this sound familiar? If so, you may believe changing careers isn’t worth the hassle, especially if you’re close to retirement, but here’s the secret: It’s not too late! There’s nothing stopping you from finding a career you love later in life. Here are three tips to get you started. Be Flexible If it’s been a while since you’ve hunted for a job, then you may have forgotten what it’s like. Job searching can be exhausting, and some job requirements can look overwhelming. But getting stuck in your ways and focusing on the things you cannot do will only hinder your ability to find a job you actually love. Instead, take a deep breath and be open to what comes. You may discover a hidden talent or passion!
Ready to Take Up the Nomadic Lifestyle After Retirement?
HERE’S HOW TO PLAN FOR IT
You’ve worked hard for years to arrive at this moment: retirement. Now that you’re free of your 9-to-5 job, you have a lot more time
for activities you enjoy. That extra time is what leads many people to turn to a nomadic lifestyle after retirement.
Touring in an RV, sailing around the world, or even just retiring to a cabin in a remote locale are all popular options for new retirees. If the spirit of adventure is calling you, here are some financial tips to set you on the right path. Downsize Before You Go Some folks choose to sell their home and use the income to fund their travels, staying in apartments and rentals as they go. If that seems too drastic, downsizing to a smaller home is also a good option, especially if you plan to travel in intervals but want a home base to return to. This also gives you the option of renting your home while you’re away and using the money to continue traveling.
Ode to the Knock- Knock Joke
April is National Humor Month, and we want to make you laugh by sharing the history of the first kind of joke many children learn to tell: the knock-knock joke. While the call-and-response style elicits nothing but groans from adults today, there was once a time when knock-knock jokes were all the rage. In the 1930s, knock-knock jokes were brand-new and wildly popular. Knock-knock jokes flooded the airwaves as businesses used the silly format in commercials, and swing orchestras included the knock-knock schtick in their songs. Knock-knock clubs formed across the country, and it wasn’t unusual for folks to spend the evening at a knock-knock joke contest. Though this was during the Great Depression, Americans didn’t lose their sense of humor. However, like all popular trends, it wasn’t long before knock- knock naysayers appeared. Incessant wordplay was already considered a psychological condition in Europe. By 1936, many were suggesting that those who told knock-knock jokes were “sick.” No one suggested this as loudly as D.A. Laird, the director of the Rivercrest Psychological Laboratory at Colgate University.
An article by Laird stated that “the people most likely to take up these pointless games in an enthusiastic way are those folk who like to appear smart and bright by exhibiting a pseudo-intellectual activity.” Laird’s article appeared in papers throughout the country, effectively killing the knock-knock joke — or at the very least, it made telling knock-knock jokes very “uncool.” Though modern comedians aren’t likely to include knock-knock jokes in their sets, this call-and-response joke lives on in the hearts of children and wacky adults alike. If you still love the clever wordplay of knock-knock jokes, here’s one for the road:
Popeye need some money!
Beet, Goat Cheese, and Arugula Salad
Directions 1. Heat oven to 450 F and line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. 2. In a medium bowl, combine vinegar, shallots, and honey. 3. Gradually whisk olive oil into the mixture and season with salt and pepper. 4. In a small bowl, toss the beets in dressing until they are coated. Ingredients • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar • 3 tbsp shallots, thinly sliced • 1 tbsp honey • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil • Salt and pepper to taste • 6 beets, peeled and quartered • 6 cups fresh arugula
• 1/2 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped • 1/4 cup dried cranberries or cherries • 1/2 avocado, cubed • 2 oz crumbled goat cheese
5. Place coated beets on baking sheet and roast them for 12 minutes. Set the beets aside and allow them to cool. 6. In a large bowl, toss arugula, walnuts, and berries with the remaining vinaigrette. Season with salt and pepper. 7. Top salad with beets, avocado, and goat cheese.
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Why Do We Stop Laughing?
Finding a Job You Love at Any Age
How to Make the Most of a Nomadic Lifestyle After Retirement
The Strange History of the Knock- Knock Joke
Beet, Goat Cheese, and Arugula Salad
Laughter Yoga’s Rise as a Global Health Movement
Laugh With Me!
A LIGHTHEARTED APPROACH TO DECREASING STRESS
We’ve all heard that laughter is the best medicine, and it turns out that human physiology supports this claim. When we laugh, our body releases a flood of feel- good chemicals and neurotransmitters. Our blood flow increases, and our production of cortisol, a hormone associated with stress, decreases. Oh, and laughing also burns calories! The feel-good, endorphin-inducing benefits of laughter are exactly what prompted Dr. Madan Kataria to develop laughter yoga in 1995. Laughter yoga incorporates breathing, stretching, clapping, and of course, laughing. Kataria developed the initial idea after coming across research into the benefits of laughter on overall health and well-being. He began to put the research into practice by telling jokes to his patients, and after seeing the positive effects, he took his material to a local park. Parkgoers, who were initially skeptical, joined in on the practice, and the first laughter yoga club was born. The laughter meetup had everyone in high spirits — until the group ran out of jokes. Unsure of what to do next, Kataria found another medical book suggesting the group
didn’t need jokes to laugh. Fake laughter is just as beneficial as the real thing because the body can’t tell the difference between the two. Collaborating with this wife, Madhuri, Kataria combined common yoga warmups and
breathing techniques with facilitated laughter to create the form of laughter yoga that is practiced worldwide today.
If you’re interested in trying laughter yoga for yourself, then you’re in luck. Laughter yoga clubs exist across the United States and the world. Videos on YouTube can teach the basics, but laughter yoga tends to be most beneficial in a group setting. Just think about the last time you found yourself in a fit of giggles with a group of friends or during a comedy show. Didn’t it feel great? Rather than wait for a silly situation to trigger laughter, use laughter yoga to promote laughter and alleviate stress on any day at any time.
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