Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Top 10 Tips To Refresh Yourself

Time out is essential, not only for peace and quiet, but to get things done for your life. If you try to wait for all of your chores and responsibilities to your loved one to be finished, you may be waiting a long time. Get started now on finding time to refresh yourself.

Here’s a list of the top 10 things you need to do regularly.

  • Get regular physical activity. Regular, moderate-to-vigorous physical activity is a good energizer that reduces stress, helps keep blood pressure and cholesterol at heart-healthy levels and helps maintain a healthy weight. Aim for 30 minutes a day on most, if not all, days. You can break it down to 10- or 15-minute sessions. Walking is a great way to get started, even if you only walk around the yard.

  • Eat heart-healthy foods. They give you more energy, keep your brain fed (which helps combat depression) and help prevent other health problems. If you’ve got to “eat on the run,” choose nutritious snacks.

  • Take time every day for an activity that you enjoy such as reading, listening to music, crafts, cooking — whatever makes you happy and relaxes you.

  • Keep humor in your life. Laughter IS good medicine. Find the humor in your situation when possible, watch a silly TV program or pop in a comedy movie. Find things to laugh about with your loved one. They need joy too! Laughing quickens the pulse rate, stimulates the blood circulation, activates muscles, increases oxygen intake and helps you relax. If you’ve forgotten how to laugh, try to be around people who still know how. Laughter’s contagious!

  • Get out once a week and go somewhere enjoyable. Visit the local coffee shop, attend church events, take a class, visit a friend or just wander around the mall or a park. If your loved one needs constant attention, ask for help. You can find someone to give an hour a week to let you get out.

  • Treat depression and stress. Recognize signs and symptoms and do something about it as soon as it starts. If you think you may be depressed, get professional help. Talk it out. Admit your feelings.

  • Take care of your business. Keep your checkbook balanced, work when you need to, spend time with friends and family and don’t stop planning for the future. It’s out there waiting for you. If you live totally “in the moment” of your caregiver responsibilities, you’ll find it more difficult to re-integrate into life later on. Keep living.

  • Keep all your medical and dental appointments. Do all you can to keep from getting sick. If you’re sick, you won’t be able to do what your loved one needs. Ask for help when you need it to get away and take care of your health.

  • Think positive. Take time every day to refresh your mind. Admit your limitations. Let go of guilt. Admit that you’re angry. Pat yourself on the back for the job you’re doing. If you’re feeling guilty or angry, take a break.

  • Stay connected with the outside world, even if it’s just by phone or online. Don’t isolate yourself. Talk to friends about something other than your situation. Stay interested in what would be going on in your life if you weren’t caregiving. It’s still there and you’re still a part of it.

Did you know? Medical studies show that laughter boosts levels of endorphins, the body's "feel-good" hormones. Laughter may even boost the immune system. A good attitude and exercising your sense of humor may reduce stress, lower depression and help your body and mind to heal. As Groucho Marx said, "A clown is like an aspirin, only he works twice as fast."

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Laughing Your Way to Happiness

We've all heard that old adage: Laughter is the best medicine, Volumes have been written and spoken about the value of laughter in life and how laughter can make us happy - even if we don't feel happy to start with. Laughter connects people and is part of the fine art of life happiness.

How does laughter relate to life happiness?

Think of this, babies and children have more than one way of showing that they are happy, but the most common way is through smiling and laughing. Research tells us that children up to pre-school age laugh about 300 times a day. 300 times! It's because to them, life is one big happy occurrence.
They have what they need and are not concerned in the least about what they don't have - children are experts at the art of happiness. They are happy to see mom and dad, so they smile and laugh.
They are happy to see their lunch, so they smile and laugh, they are happy to play with a ball, so they smile and laugh - they're happy! As adults, we laugh about 15 times a day. That doesn't mean that we're miserable, but it does indicate that as we grow up, we start to worry and concern ourselves with things, and unfortunately, we end up laughing less, and yes, we're probably not as innately happy as a two year old.
But that doesn't mean we can't be happier! One way to bring a sense of joy and happiness into our lives and practice the art of happiness is by adding laughter. Seems sort of backwards, sure, but if it works, does it matter? If you can add laughter to your life and discover that you find happiness in the process, isn't that great?

How will laughing help me to find happiness?

Laughing does a lot of good things for us. It gives our body a gentle work out by causing us to use muscles in the face, chest and abdomen. It causes us to breathe deeply, cleansing our system. It raises the heart rate, and causes endorphins (feel good hormones) to be released.
Laughing makes us feel the same way eating really good chocolate or having sex makes us feel. After a good belly laugh, we feel relaxed and alive and energized. Wait, those are things a happy person might feel! And whatever it is that made us laugh, later when we think about it, we will probably laugh, or at least smile again, continuing the "feel goods".

How can I add laughter to my life?

You can add to your overall life happiness by adding a good dose of sincere, happy laughter to each day. Here are some ideas:

1. Make a point to watch very funny movies or TV programs that really make you laugh a couple times a week.

2. Rent DVDs of your favorite comedian and watch with a group of friends (or your cat - that's OK too).

3. Play and be silly with small children. They know how to make everything fun.

4. Play fun games that induce laughing - games like charades and Pictionary™ are good examples.

5. Have your favorite comic strips emailed to you or set to appear on your homepage everyday.

6. Look into laughing therapy - there are schools and therapists out there that will help you "learn" to laugh.

7. Just laugh - even if you sincerely fake a laugh, you will begin to authentically laugh because it's so darned silly sounding when you fake it!

Laughter is a valuable part of your authentic happiness! Laughing each and every day is as good for you physically, emotionally and spiritually as taking your vitamins and getting exercise.

Enjoy a good laugh today!

By Winsome Coutts

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

A Laugh a Day to Keep the Doctor Away?

A hearty laugh a day may keep the doctor away, say the findings of a unique study. Whereas previous studies have examined how negative emotions can adversely affect our health, this study took a new spin--they measured the affect of watching a funny movie on the ability of heart blood vessels to expand. And they found some surprising results--laughing increased blood flow as much as a 15- to 30-minute workout.

The ability of blood vessels to expand is known as vasodilation. Poor vasodilation means that passageways may be blocked and blood flow may be cut off. The result is an increased risk of heart attacks and strokes.

In the study, 20 healthy men and women watched clips of two movies--a violent battle scene from "Saving Private Ryan" or a humorous scene from a comedy such as "Kingpin." Each participant's vasodilation was measured prior to the movie and again afterward.

The results were "dramatic." Of the 20 participants who saw the stressful film, 14 had significantly reduced blood flow. However, after watching the funny film, 19 of the 20 volunteers had significantly increased blood flow. Specifically:
  • Blood flow decreased by about 35 percent after experiencing stress
  • Blood flow increased by 22 percent after laughing, which is equivalent to what happens after a 15- to 30-minute workout

Past studies have found that stress hormones like adrenalin and cortisol, which is released when a person is stressed, may harm the body by suppressing the immune system and constricting blood vessels. On the other hand, the researchers believe laughing causes the body to release beneficial chemicals called endorphins, which may counteract the effects of stress hormones and cause blood vessels to dilate.

In a similar manner, laughing may also boost the immune system and reduce inflammation, which is thought to increase the risk of various health problems.

The researchers say they have a long way to go before their hypothesis will be proven, but they point out that there's no downside to laughing and they have no problem recommending it to their patients.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Telephone Laughter

Implemented by Gaga Barnes, "Laughter Yoga on the Phone" is a unique idea that unites people in remarkable, spontaneous and hilarious sessions of healing and health.

It's easy. It's free. And it's oh so fun!

(This phone number is in Iowa, USA. There may be a toll charge by your phone company depending on your existing call plan - or absence thereof - with them.)

Laugh while listening to the latest recorded call!Dial 712.432.3903 Access Code 6071292#

Help us add more sessions! Gaga's dream is to have telephone laughter available on the clock, 24h/day, every day of the year. We're 100% behind her.
If you think you can or could help lead a session on a particular day / time beyond what is currently scheduled, please
1) click here to contact Gaga Barnes or call 760 889-6114
2) let us know the outcome of your conversation should anything manifest. We'll update this page right away. What is the value of being the best kept secret in town?

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Telephone Laughter Clubs

Telephone Conference Laughter Clubs / Laughter Buddies

In India laughter clubs are held every day thereby helping people to reap enormous health benefits as they laugh regularly. But, in the Western countries laughter clubs happen just once a week leaving many wanting for more. Realizing their need for daily laughter, I devised certain techniques and exercises that would help people to laugh all by themselves.

The new concept of Laughter Yoga Alone is inspirational for those wanting to laugh daily and experience the healing power of laughter for both mental and physical wellness. It is especially beneficial for the old and the disabled and for those who find it difficult to go to a laughter club on a daily basis.

It will also help to generate more awareness about the clubs and the tremendous heath benefits of laughter as an exercise. It will encourage more and more people to join the clubs and practice these exercises for good health and well being.

In my search for different techniques to laugh alone at home, one of the most ingenious was to have ‘Laughter Buddies' on the phone. It all started last year when Jackie Curran, a laughter teacher from Sydney, formed a telephone buddy with whom she laughed once every week. She found it extremely uplifting and energizing. The concept proved to be very beneficial as laughter leaders all over the world picked up this practice.

The American Breakthrough
I was pleasantly surprised when our laughter leader Gaga from California started a telephone conference laughter session called a ‘Bridge line', with nearly 20 - 30 people laughing every day at 9 a.m. California time for 20 minutes.
The experience was similar to being in a Laughter club. It caught on rapidly and they now have four laughter lines at 7 a.m., 8 a.m., 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Wow!! Very good very good Yeah!!!!
Anyone interested in joining the Telephone Laughter Club please call 712-432-3900 Access code is 6071292#

The Australian Laughter line
Inspired by the American success story Jackie, the laughter lawyer from Sydney wasted no time in setting up the first Australian Telephone Conference Laughter Club every Monday at 6 pm.
For joining the Australian Telephone Laughter Clubs This e-mail address is being protected from spambots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it ' ); //-->">
There are 2 dial in access numbers Sydney 61 2 82 46 72 10 and 1800 692 663 After dialling they need to enter the PIN number which changes from time to time.. so anyone wanting to call needs to register at the enquiry form on my web site. www.laughterlawyer.com.auLaughter Lawyers Laugh line calls take place at 9 am and 6 pm Sydney time on both Mondays and Wednesdays every week.

Thank you both Jackie and Gaga and other laughter professors of California. You have created history and shown a new direction to get more and more people laughing on a regular basis. This will help to generate more awareness about the benefits of laughter.
We want more and more readers to take the initiative to start with these telephone laughter clubs in other parts of the world. Is anybody listening?

Laughter is still the best medicine!

Lotte laughs on the phone!
Laughter is still the best medicine!
The St Albans Laughter Club are sending their unique form of therapy down the line with a new venture.
The credit crunch, financial crisis, violent crime, anger management – it seems that all there ever is these days is bad news, and anybody would be forgiven for feeling a bit miserable.
Well, the St Albans Laughter Club claim to have the best remedy, and the clue is in the title!
Following the success of their monthly laughter sessions, the club are now sending chuckles down the line with the launch of the Telephone Laughter Club.

Every weekday morning at 7.00am you can dial into a conference call where you can laugh along with others in an alternative therapy that will really set you up for the day!

Laughter Clubs were started in India in 1995 by Dr Madan Kataria, who was doing research into the health benefits of laughter.
Lotte Mikkelsen set up her Laughter Club in St Albans in 2004 after seeing the success of similar clubs in her native Denmark, where they have about 250 clubs all over the country.

A laid back affair.
Now, every second Sunday of the month, in a quiet residential street in Bricket Wood, giggle devotees gather to just laugh, in exercises and meditations guided by Lotte, in sessions that are completely free of charge! The idea is that the laughter is de-stressing, and as a result people become more creative and productive and are better able to deal with the challenges of every day life.

It has been so popular that Lotte has now decided to take it further so that people can laugh on a more regular basis.
“The reason for starting the Telephone Laughter Club is that the laughter club is only once a month and to get all the benefits on an on-going basis you really want to do this every day” explained Lotte.

“With the monthly Laughter Club we meet in person and go through certain laughter exercises. In the telephone laughter club it’s free laughter straight away - and it’s only five minutes!
“It costs 5p per minute so that’s about £1.50 a week” she added.
“And I think it’s definitely worth it because the benefits you gain from it are unbelievable.
“It gives you this boost, you feel great, you feel relaxed and you feel that you can cope with anything.”

Lotte explained that the benefits of laughter are that it relaxes you, boosts your creativity and strengthens your muscles. But how does this work?
“It reduces your stress levels because when you’re stressed your cortisol stress hormone level is really, really high” Lotte revealed.
“When we laugh we release endorphins which suppress the cortisol, and that’s why we feel relaxed.

“It doesn’t make the problems go away of course” she added, “because they are still going to be there, but you are much more capable of actually dealing with the problems because you can sit back and take a look at them from a completely different perspective.”

Many people are now buying into this idea and as a result, Lotte now runs laughter workshops for companies and organisations to de-stress their employees and promote team-building.
The concept of laughing for no reason is also said to heighten creativity because you are using the side of the brain that is used for this. Lotte explained how this worked.

“When Laughter Clubs started in 1995, they started laughing by telling jokes” she said.
“But the thing about telling jokes is that it engages the left side of the brain which deals with logic and judging and you decide whether it’s funny or not. And that’s one of the reasons that it didn’t work that well at first because people were thinking about whether to laugh or not.
“So they had to come up with a completely different concept and came up with laughing for no reason. And by doing that you engage the right side of the brain.

Tears of laughter, honest!
“This is one of the reasons why we just start laughing on the phone. When I phone into the Telephone Laughter Club I just start laughing straight away instead of saying good morning or anything. I just start laughing because it’s just engaging the right side of the brain.”

And relaxation and creativity are not the only positive results of laughing. According to Lotte, when we laugh we are much more social, and just because her new venture means that you are laughing on your own on the phone, it doesn’t mean you are isolated.

“Because we’re on the phone we are by ourselves but we still connect with people in some way” she said.
“And it also makes you feel more up for connecting with people during the day. I can certainly recommend it.”
And then there are the physical benefits too, as Lotte revealed.
“I read an article where it said that if you want to train your inner most abdomen muscles, which are the core muscles that are really, really important to keep firm, then the only way that you can do that properly is not by sit ups, it’s by having a good belly laugh” she said.
And also, according to Lotte, research shows that two minutes laughing is equivalent to 20 minutes on the rowing machine so you can replace your gym visits with laughing! Result!

In India there are about 3,500 laughter clubs where people laugh every day but Lotte admits that in the UK, if we have ten active laughter clubs we’re probably quite lucky. So why is this? Why do the British find it difficult to just laugh?

“I think that it’s a challenge to run it here in the UK but at the same time it’s a fun challenge. It takes a bit longer to get people into the idea that you can actually do this and it’s OK to look a bit silly and maybe foolish” suggested Lotte.
“Most of us have this fa├žade where we think that this is how the world sees us and we shouldn’t step outside that, and when you get into the Laughter Club, you have to break that barrier down.

“When I start dialling in [to the Telephone Laughter Club] I think to myself that this is a really, really a silly thing to do! And maybe it’s that thought that just inspires the laughter.
“I get into that frame of mind where I think it’s easy to laugh because it is really silly, but it’s a good silly thing. Silly is not just for children, it’s for everybody. We get so, so serious when we grow up and it’s about time that we got a little bit more playful! We’re much, much better at dealing with problems if we are a bit playful and have a little bit of fun.

“We build up a lot of challenges in our lives, which come up and face us and we think we can’t deal with them, so I think it’s definitely something that people should dial into. There’s room for 250 people on the conference call!”

Telephone Laughter Club

The Laughter Club International (UK) started in St. Albans in June 2004 and is as active as ever.
From 15th September we expand our monthly laughter...
Every morning from Monday to Friday at 7:00am BST (GMT+1) we will be laughing on the phone.
Please dial into phone number +44 (0)844 774 2424, conference ID 807911.
Why Telephone Laughter Club?
In India laughter clubs are held every day. This helps people benefit tremendously and boost their health as they laugh regularly.

However, in the Western countries Laughter Clubs happen just once a week, or in many cases once a month, which means many people want more as they experience the health benefits.
When I started the Laughter Club in St. Albans in 2004 I had a 'laughter buddy' who I laughed with every morning at 7am to initiate the day in a great and inspiring way.

Today the US and Australia run very successful Telephone Laughter Clubs and this has inspired me to start the daily telephone laughs here in the UK. Anyone is welcome to dial into the daily laughter - no matter where in the world you are based.

The experience was similar to being in a Laughter club.
Anyone interested in joining the Telephone Laughter Club please call +44 (0)844 774 2424, conference ID 807911.
Our first Telephone Laughter is on 15th September 2008 at 7:00am BST (GMT+1). We will laugh for 15 minutes!

I look forward to laughing with you!