Tag Archives: laughter

12 ways to boost your mood

12 ways to boost your moodI often find myself in a bad mood, and I’m not even sure how I got there. Some days my to-do list seems endless. I may be stressed about work, my kids or who knows what.

It’s natural to be down in the dumps every once in a while. Life can be stressful, chaotic and overwhelming. And once a bad mood hits, it can set the tone for your whole day.

It’s so much more rewarding for you – and those around you – to be in a good mood. Having a positive outlook can even be beneficial to your health.

Here are 12 ways you can boost your mood:

Take a break
If a particular task or situation is frustrating you, take a break from it for a few minutes before it puts in you in a bad mood. I often find myself stuck on a task while I’m working. Rather than sit and stew about it and get frustrated, it’s better to step away and get a drink or walk around. I might switch gears and take care of a quick task for a few minutes and then go back to what I was stuck on. Taking a break can head off a bad mood before it can set in.

Focus on the good
It’s easy to get sucked into negative thoughts. If you find yourself dwelling on the bad things, give yourself a mental kick in the behind and focus on what is good in your life. When I find myself obsessing about some small negative detail, I think about all the important things. I have a husband who loves me, three healthy, fairly well-adjusted kids, a roof over my head and food in the refrigerator. How silly is it to feel down about being passed over for a freelance job or having a minor argument with a friend?

Talk to a friend
I have a great friend who lets me call her up and vent about whatever is weighing on my mind and bringing down my mood. And, she knows she can call me up and do the same. Just telling someone your troubles and having them listen to you can lift your spirits. Your friends can help keep you healthy, too.

Get moving
I know, if you’re already in a bad mood, do you really want to exercise? Yet, exercising does seem to boost my mood. It may just be that I am proud of myself for actually doing it. However, part of what makes you feel good during and after you exercise is increasing your body temperature. You release beta-endorphins which cause you to feel relaxed. Besides, exercise is good for you!

Listen to music
Jamming to some good tunes can help release feel-good chemicals in your brain, too. Listen to music while you work or do household chores. Or, crank it up loud and dance with your friends or family.

Get plenty of rest
Lack of sleep makes me cranky – and I am more likely to have a short fuse and have my mood turn sour more quickly. Keeping to a regular sleep schedule can improve your mood, fight the winter blues and help you sleep through the night and wake up rested. I know I have had enough sleep if I can wake up in the morning without the alarm.

Drink water
If you are feeling low, try increasing your water intake. Not drinking enough water can make you dehydrated and can lead to a feeling of fatigue or lack of energy. In addition, water has many other health benefits.

Have a healthy snack
When I get hungry, my energy level drops off and my mood can dip. It’s okay to have a healthy, higher carb snack that will help you produce serotonin and elevate your mood. Be sure to avoid the sugary snacks that can actually make you feel good but then cause you to crash later.

Go outside
Sunlight is nature’s mood booster. Get outside and take a walk in your neighborhood. Check out the flowers starting to bloom or watch the clouds changing shapes. Play catch, soccer, frisbee or tag with your kids. Or putter around in your yard or garden. Take a drive and simply enjoy nature.

Hug someone
Be liberal with your affection. Hug or kiss someone – preferably someone you know – every day to show them that you care. If there’s no one close by, call a friend or send a “thinking of you” email to someone you love. Not only will it boost your mood, but probably theirs as well.

Laugh
As the saying goes, “Laughter is the best medicine.” If you’re feeling down, talk to a funny friend or co-worker, or watch a comedy show on TV. Laughing releases endorphins and helps improve your mood instantly.

Do something you love
Think of activities you love to do that tend to boost your mood. Maybe you like to sit down with a good book and drink a cup of coffee. You might enjoy cuddling with your kids, watching sports on TV, drawing, taking photos or playing with your cat or dog. No matter how small it may seem, taking the time to do something you love can make a big difference!

Do you have tips or tricks for boosting your mood? Tell us what works for you!

Is laughter the best medicine?

boy laughingKids laugh hundreds of times a day. As adults, we can go all day without laughing or sharing a laugh with someone. Why is that? For one thing, we may feel like we have to take life more seriously. In addition, we have more stress and anxiety. It’s harder to see the humor in things.

Laughter may actually be good for us. It may have physical and mental health benefits. While there may not be definitive research on the healing powers of laughter, it certainly won’t hurt you any!

What happens when you laugh?
When we laugh, we stretch the muscles throughout our face and bodies. I have laughed so hard that my stomach muscles will be sore later. It addition, your pulse goes up as well as your blood pressure, and you breathe faster which sends more oxygen to your tissues. The results of laughing are very similar to exercise. Laughter may even burn calories. What could be better than that?

How does laughing effect your health?
Finding humor in life may raise the level of infection-fighting antibodies in the blood. It may also boost the levels of immune cells. So, laughing may help strengthen your immune system.

Laughter may help lower blood sugar levels – helping reduce the risk of diabetes.

Laughing can help you relax, give you a general sense of well-being and help you sleep better. It may also help those with chronic pain relax and achieve more pain free sleep.

You may have a more open mind when you have a good sense of humor. Laughing may help you improve your creativity and problem-solving skills.

Could laughter be the best medicine?
Scientist are not completely convinced that laughter really has major effects on our minds and bodies. For one thing, it’s really hard to conduct a controlled experiment on laughter. For instance, if research subjects reported that they were in less pain when they were laughing, is it the act of laughing or the distraction in general that brings about the pain relief? So, it becomes hard to measure the true benefits of laughter.

Yet, even if it’s not the laughing that makes you feel better, isn’t it still beneficial to laugh? Laughing means you have a good sense of humor and that means you typically take things less seriously and may better manage stress. You most likely have a positive attitude if you can see the humor in situations. You may have supportive friends and family who help give you reasons to laugh. And as we’ve discussed in previous blogs, reducing stress, having a positive outlook and having good relationships are all vital to good health.

5 ways to increase your laugh-ability:
Want to ramp up your ability to laugh and have more fun? Here are some activities to help you get in more laughs.

Spend time with happy people – If you hang out with fun and playful people, you are bound to have some laughs.

Laugh at your own expense – Share your embarrassing moments with your friends and family. Real life can be the best comedy.

Search out humorous entertainment – Go see funny movies. Read humorous books or watch comedies on TV.

Play games – Playing board games or charades with friends and family will most likely involve friendly bickering, good natured name-calling and quite a few laughs.

Hang out with kids – Spending time with kids brings out the kid in all of us. And, kids can say the darnedest things. They bring spontaneity and humor without even trying.

So, take time to laugh today. You’ll feel better, you may be healthier, and you just might brighten someone else’s day!

10 tips to a happy marriage

happy marriageMy husband and I have been married for 20 years. We dated for 5 years.That means we have been together for 25 years. I have to say it just astounds me that we have been together that long. I don’t feel like I should be 25 years old, let alone be in a relationship for that many years.

What does it take to make a marriage last? I can honestly say that I haven’t really given it that much thought. In the United States, couples marrying for the first time have approximately a 50% chance of divorcing. What are the other 50% doing that makes them stick it out?

Here are some tips to creating a happy marriage:

Plan for the long haul
When my husband and I got married, we both knew it was forever. We talked about the fact that divorce would never be an option. I think once you take that choice off the table, it’s much easier to plan for the long haul. I have friends who threaten divorce on a regular basis. I always think: Be careful what you wish for. A happy marriage is a committed marriage. Each party knows that the only option is to create a long, memorable life together.

Be best friends
While I believe it was love at first sight for my husband and me, I also feel that we are best friends. We trust each other. We are willing to do dumb and embarrassing stuff in front of each other. We have each other’s backs. When you’re best friends, you truly enjoying spending time together. You have a shared history and inside jokes. You can communicate without talking. You may even annoy the people around you (which is part of the fun). You may also annoy each other from time to time, but underneath it all you still value and respect your spouse.

Keep the spark alive
In any good relationship, sex is more than just a physical act. It’s a vital part of the health and emotional well-being of a marriage. It’s a connection that only the two of you share. Obviously, over the years, your sexual relationship will evolve. The sparks may fly when you first meet, but when you add jobs, a mortgage, kids, sleep deprivation, and a few decades, it can be harder to keep the romance burning. You have to discover ways to fan the flames and nurture your relationship with each other.

Share a dream
To be happy, you and your spouse need to create shared dreams. You should have the same vision. For instance, it may be buying a house, taking a certain vacation or starting a family. Obviously, the shared dream will change and evolve over time as your current dream is realized. You can also have separate dreams. For instance, one partner may want to switch jobs or go back to school. It’s important for couples to be supportive of each other’s dreams as well.

Accept your differences
Even the most in tune couples have differences. That’s what makes us individuals, and frankly, more interesting. My husband is Catholic, and I grew up Methodist. I am about as liberal as you can get, and he is conservative. He goes hunting, and I can’t squish a spider because I worry that its spider babies will be orphans. I love shoes, and he loves power tools. (It works out – he can build shelves for my shoes.) We have learned to accept that we are different. In fact, I think the differences are what makes us more compatible. And it definitely keeps things exciting.

Put each other first
Your spouse comes before your parents, your friends or your siblings. When you are first married, it’s easy to go crying to Mom or Dad when things get tough. However, it’s important to talk to your spouse when you have problems, rather than talking about them to your family or friends. My husband and I moved 250 miles away from home right after we got married. I actually think it was good for our marriage because we didn’t have friends or family nearby. We had to face the good and the bad together.

At the same time, you should stay connected to your parents. In recent years, my husband and I have moved back home and live within a few miles of our families. I talk on the phone with my mom every few days. My husband helps his dad with household repairs. We are close to our families, but we also maintain our own relationship.

Fight fair
There’s fighting that means having a heated discussion or bickering about trivial things. And then there is fighting as in screaming, yelling and throwing things. My husband and I both grew up in households where our parents discussed issues, argued their points of view and then came to a compromise. We argued more when we were first married, but now we rarely have serious disagreements. We have learned it’s less stressful and less time consuming if we just work it out.

Happy couples learn how to fight fair. They learn how to talk things over constructively. You listen to each other and don’t try to find a solution until both sides have had their say. You may need to table the discussion so each person can think about it. There is no blame. No one is called names or belittled. It’s not a power struggle. It’s not about who’s right and who’s wrong. It’s about what is best for you as a family. You give and you compromise.

Find balance
My husband and I have learned that we can’t spend every waking moment together. We get on each other’s nerves. We enjoy spending time together, but we also like to be away from each other. There should be a healthy balance of family time, spouse time and alone time. You may think you’re spending time with your spouse, but it may actually be time with your kids or other family members. You and your spouse should find time to have a conversation that doesn’t involve kids, work or household chores. Happy couples find the time to strengthen their connection. And they do things on their own that make them happy, too.

Face it together
At some point, your relationship will be tested. There may be a serious illness, job loss or a death in the family. The tough times will put the biggest strain on your relationship. The stress can pull a couple apart. But, if you stick together when things get rough, you will come out on the other side with a stronger marriage than ever.

Laugh about it
Laughter is the best medicine. It’s good to laugh together or at your current situation. Humor can help diffuse an argument or lighten the mood. Good marriages keep the humor alive. My husband can even make me laugh while I’m in the middle of a teary breakdown. He knows when I need to take myself less seriously. That is true love.

And, don’t forget, being married might help you live longer, so that’s another reason to stick with it. How long have you been married? Do you have tips to creating a happy marriage?