Column - Laugh yourself healthyInstead of all those useless resolutions I concoct each New Year, this year will be different. I’m making just one resolution and that is to laugh myself healthy.
By: Lori Mork, Alexandria Echo Press
Instead of all those useless resolutions I concoct each New Year, this year will be different. I’m making just one resolution and that is to laugh myself healthy.
Yup, I’m going to lose weight, lower my blood pressure and improve my mental state – all by laughing.
I’ve decided to let laughter guide me through 2009; it can’t be any worse than the plan I had last year.
And before you start laughing at me, here are a few upbeat tidbits I gleaned online.
A good, hearty guffaw can help reduce stress and lower blood pressure. You can chuckle your way to instant relaxation as you elevate your mood and improve your brain function. Or how about chortling your way to a healthy heart and a little muscle-building workout?
Humor me, people. I’m serious here. Good health is no laughing matter. Or is it?
A study done at the University of Maryland Medical Center suggests that laughter can accomplish all these things.
I especially enjoyed the section that states that laughter gives our bodies a good workout, exercising our diaphragm, abdominal, respiratory, facial, leg and back muscles. That’s a lot of muscle work for a little giggle. It even suggests that a hearty hee-haw can burn the same amount of calories as several minutes on a rowing machine or the exercise bike.
Let’s see – sweating up a storm as I race to nowhere on an exercise bike or whooping it up with a buddy? Not much of a choice, if you ask me.
Laughing can also improve your mental health, especially if you laugh at yourself. Now there’s an upside. Who couldn’t use a little better mental outlook, especially in those embarrassing situations when you feel like crying?
Mental health professionals point out that using humor can help give us perspective in stressful situations and that laughing at ourselves and the situation can help us realize that whatever the problem is, it isn’t as earth shattering as we seem to think. It’s hard to be upset about something if you’re laughing.
Humor supposedly increases energy, and if I’m going to laugh myself to good health, I’m thinking a little extra boost in that department couldn’t hurt either.
If laughter really is the best medicine, I want to supersize my dose.
I want my sides hurting from the hilarity, tightening those abs and firming up those face muscles. I want tears trickling down my face as a rib-tickling joke trims my tummy. I want the mirth bubbling up in my heart, building up strength and burning away blood pressure.
Hey, it can’t hurt to give it a try. This could be the new “South Beach Diet” of 2009.
If nothing else, maybe I can laugh away the next cold while flattening my stomach and gearing up for another shot at “War and Peace.”
“It’s Our Turn” is a weekly column that rotates among members of the Echo Press editorial staff.