Holland & Usry - April 2020

SHARE A LAUGH

LET’S FACE IT — WE COULD ALL USE ONE!

• Relieve pain by releasing endorphins, our body’s natural painkillers.

Note from Rob: I wrote this long before the coronavirus outbreak, but I stand by it! Okay, the picture may be noncompliant with guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, so look at it as the hope of joy to come! Folks, we’re gonna get through this. Hang in there, stay safe, and be well. Know that if you need us, we’re here for you. We’ll make any arrangements you need so you can feel comfortable making contact with us. April is National Humor Month, which seems right since it kicks off with April Fools’ Day. Honestly, I’m no fan of April Fools’. It celebrates practical jokes that can be mean-spirited, but the health benefits of good humor merit a long look at how we can use it — seriously! A 2017 study published in the American Journal of Physiology lists powerful reasons to find the lighter side of life and lists these findings.

• Contribute to healthy blood vessels and increase blood flow.

• Strengthen relationships. Here’s my favorite quote from the study: “When people share laughter, there is a special connection between them. By creating positive emotional and social connections, using humor may lower defenses and establish rapport.” So the question becomes this: How can we inject more humor into our lives to create the chance to share that laugh? It’s challenging. No one ever said to grow up because it’s fun. I found a great article on HelpGuide.org, a nonprofit website devoted to mental health and wellness, which gives some laughter hacks for our pressure-filled, fast-paced lives. Here’s what they recommend. • Smile! It’s a head start on a laugh. Look at people and smile. They smile back. For the record, your phone won’t. And Siri doesn’t know how to laugh. (Yes, I asked her.) • Count your blessings. Literally — make a list. No blessing is too small. For example, I didn’t have to take out the trash today. Seeing all the positive things can block out the joy- killing negatives.

Humor can:

• Decrease stress hormones and trigger the release of dopamine, the brain’s “pleasure and reward” chemical. The study tells us, “People who see the amusing side of problems are more capable of coping with stress.”

• Move toward laughter. If you’re late to the joke, folks often want to share. Just ask.

Build the immune system by releasing antibodies.

• Spend time with fun people. You don’t have to be the comedian if you invite one along, and humor often feeds off itself. So, find the joy in your day. Seek out the lighter side of life. Share a laugh. While the only thing it might change is how you feel, it might just make life more fun, better, or both. And that’s the point.

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