Overcoming Depression – Laugh A Little…or A Lot!

Laughter is the language of the soul Pablo NerudaWhy is it that so many adults get cranky? (I think too many think that it is not mature or responsible to laugh 🙁  )  Laughter is wonderful! It has the power to heal! When I was fighting depression, nothing made me feel better than a good laugh!

If your life seems to serious, make sure that you take time to laugh! There is no problem or illness (including depression) that is not made better by good humor and laughter! Play with a child or watch a funny comedy – whatever gets you laughing will do the trick! All relationships are strengthened by humor and laughter – laughter and smiling go hand in hand to make life more enjoyable!

I hope you have a wonderful weekend! Make sure to laugh! and…be sure to read today’s article and then figure out some way to bring more laughter into your life!:

Laughter Therapy…Laugh Your Way To Well Being

How Laughing Out Loud Promotes Health and Heals Disease

Everyone loves to laugh, but few people know how much truth is contained by the words “laughter is the best medicine.” The natural gift of laughter confers outstanding medicinal benefits. Laughter therapy can improve mental and physical well-being, and its therapeutic effects are even being applied towards the treatment of serious health conditions, including cancer.

The History of Healing with Laughter

Laughter therapy (or humor therapy, as it’s sometimes called) is the practice of intentionally initiating laughter to relieve physical or emotional stress and promote overall health and wellness. laughter therapy

As long ago as the 13th century, surgeons used humor to distract patients from pain. Norman Cousins, author of Anatomy of an Illness, first seriously undertook the scientific study of laughter’s healing impact. Cousins published his book in 1979 after he himself used humor to sustain himself through a grueling and prolonged battle with a serious disease.

Now, hospitals around the globe are incorporating laughter therapy programs into their practices. In India, laughing clubs — where participants meet each morning solely for the purpose of sharing a laugh — are gaining tremendous popularity. Laughter therapy is also taking hold in the West. The Pentagon has even begun training military families to use these techniques.

Some integrative cancer treatment centers, such as the Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA), are incorporating laughter therapy into their cancer treatment protocols. According to the CTCA, “Laughter is a natural medicine. It lifts our spirits and makes us feel happy. Laughter is a contagious emotion. It can bring people together. It can help us feel more alive and empowered.”

Studies show that laughter may significantly boost health in myriad ways. Just some of the functions of laughter include its ability to:

• Boost the immune system and circulatory system
• Enhance oxygen intake
• Stimulate the heart and lungs
• Relax muscles throughout the body
• Trigger the release of endorphins (the body’s natural painkillers)
• Ease digestion/soothe stomach aches
• Relieve pain
• Balance blood pressure
• Improve mental functions (i.e., alertness, memory, creativity)

In addition, the immediate pleasure we feel while laughing can offer surprisingly long-term benefits, including sustained improvement in overall attitude…relaxation…sleep…quality of life…social bonds and relationships…and well-being.

The Science of Laughter

Many of laughter’s positive effects are the result of the hormones laughter stimulates, called catecholamines. Catecholamines trigger the release of endorphins — the body’s natural “feel-good” chemicals, capable of reducing pain and stimulating elation.

Once your body is awash in this “happy juice,” you’ll automatically begin to feel more content and relaxed. According to a research team at Texas A&M University, each laugh relieves stress…reduces anxiety … lifts energy…and even cultivates hope. In fact, the team found that laughter therapy could lead to significant increases in hopefulness.

David H. Rosen, one of the researchers who carried out the study, told Science Daily that humor specifically fosters hope by blocking negative thoughts with positive ones. The positive emotions generated through humor can increase a person’s perceived ability to overcome an obstacle, an important psychological aspect of hope.

Children also benefit greatly from laughter. Researchers at UCLA did a study that showed that watching funny shows on TV improved children’s tolerance for pain.

In addition, a team from the University of Maryland found that those who watched funny movies compared to those who watched sad ones experienced increased blood flow — an important factor for health and healing.

You Don’t Have to Feel Like Laughing to Heal

Perhaps the best part of laughter therapy — other than how good it feels – is that even if you don’t feel like laughing, you can benefit. Luke Burbank, a National Public Radio reporter, addressed this question in an interview with Steve Wilson, the head of World Laughter Tour, a university-educated psychologist, and a “self-taught joyologist.”

According to Wilson, “All human beings have an original, authentic natural laughter.” His mission is to help us all access that laughter at any time. But, says Wilson, it doesn’t matter if you’re faking it. He and other professionals are convinced that the brain can’t tell if your laughter is legitimate or forced. The physical act of laughter — spontaneous or forced — is enough to relax your muscles…improve your digestion…normalize your heart rate…and enhance blood flow.

Besides, many who start out with a forced laugh find that they very quickly transition into authentic, joyful laughter, especially if they are laughing with others.

In the interests of optimal health, remember the words of e.e. cummings: “The most wasted of all days is one without laughter.”

Today’s article is shared from the following website: http://undergroundhealthreporter.com/laughter-therapy-well-being-and-health/

 

 

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Overcoming Depression – The Amazing Power of Friendship

Cherish your human connections -  your relationships with friends and family    Barbara Bush

When I was going through depression, there was nothing more important to me than to feel like I had a friend. Thank goodness my husband and my children were such good friends to me. Often, my other friends had no idea that I was going through depression – even though it felt like I had a neon sign hanging around my neck which flashed: “Danger! Danger! I’m hanging from the neck of an Emotional Wreck!

It was during my most difficult days that those friendships gave me strength and the desire to keep fighting. I hope that if you are going through depression, that you have good friends to turn to. In turn, be the best friend you can be. We never know what others might be going through.

If you are going through depression, find those that you can trust. I know that it is not always easy but …. it is possible. A true friend can help you through your hard days and laugh with you on the better days! We are connected more than we know on this planet. When we connect to others in a positive way, we help ourselves, we help others and we help the world!

I hope you will enjoy today’s story about friendship! It’s hard to place a value on friendship – it is such a priceless commodity! :

An Inspiring Story About Friendship

In ancient Greece, Socrates was reputed to hold knowledge in high esteem. One day one fellow met the great philosopher and said, “Do you know what I just heard about your friend?”.

“Hold on a minute,” Socrates replied. “Before telling me anything I’d like you to pass a little test. It’s called the Triple Filter Test.”. “Triple filter?”. “That’s right,” Socrates continued. “Before you talk to me about my friend, it might be a good idea to take a moment and filter what you’re going to say. That’s why I call it the triple filter test.

The first filter is Truth. Have you made absolutely sure that what you are about to tell me is true?” “No,” the man said, “actually I just heard about it and…”. “All right,” said Socrates. “So you don’t know if it’s true or not.

Now let’s try the second filter, the filter of Goodness. Is what you are about to tell me about my friend something good?” . “No, on the contrary…”. “So,” Socrates continued, “you want to tell me something bad about him, but you’re not certain it’s true.

You may still pass the test though, because there’s one filter left: the filter of Usefulness. Is what you want to tell me about my friend going to be useful to me?” “No, not really.”

“Well,” concluded Socrates, “if what you want to tell me is neither true nor good nor even useful, why tell it to me at all?”

Story shared from the following website: http://www.videoinspiration.net/blog/short-stories-about-friendship/

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Friendship and Love…

The greatest healing therapy is friendship and love Hubert H. Humphrey

I have been touched recently by the importance of friendship. I am very blessed to share my life with my best friend. He is my husband and sweetheart 🙂  Because I am blessed with that constant arrangement, I have often been more lax about developing and maintaining other friendships in my life.

It’s not that I don’t value friendship – I do. It’s more like I put those relationships on the back burner more than I should have because my needs were already being so well met by my husband and family.

I don’t know what exactly penetrated my heart recently, but I have become more intimately aware of the great family, we as a human family, are. We need each other and we need to support each other.

We all have a profound impact on each other – both small and large.

Friendship, in whatever forms it presents itself in our lives should never be taken for granted. It is a gift that once given, must be guarded like a rare jewel and nurtured like a priceless garden. I am making it a goal in my life to be more friendly to strangers and to reach out more often to my friends that I am blessed to have.

What about you? Has it been too long since you have talked to your best friend? …or have you been in contact recently, but have not taken the time to let them know how important they are to you? Are your best friends your spouse and children? Are they halfway around the world and in harms way? I hope you will take just a brief moment and reach out to a friend today!

Today’s story shares the importance of unselfish friendship. I hope you will enjoy!

A Touching Story about Friendship

A voyaging ship was wrecked during a storm at sea and only two of the men on it were able to swim to a small, desert like island.

The two survivors who have been a good friends, not knowing what else to do, agreed that they had no other recourse but to pray to God. However, to find out whose prayer was more powerful, they agreed to divide the territory between them and stay on opposite sides of the island.

The first thing they prayed for was food. The next morning, the first man saw a fruit-bearing tree on his side of the land, and he was able to eat its fruit. The other man’s parcel of land remained barren.

After a week, the first man was lonely and he decided to pray for a wife. The next day, another ship was wrecked, and the only survivor was a woman who swam to his side of the land. On the other side of the island, there was nothing.

Soon the first man prayed for a house, clothes, more food. The next day, like magic, all of these were given to him. However, the second man still had nothing.

Finally, the first man prayed for a ship, so that he and his wife could leave the island. In the morning, he found a ship docked at his side of the island. The first man boarded the ship with his wife and decided to leave the second man on the island.

He considered the other man unworthy to receive God’s blessings, since none of his prayers had been answered.
As the ship was about to leave, the first man heard a voice from heaven booming, “Why are you leaving your companion on the island?”

“My blessings are mine alone, since I was the one who prayed for them,” the first man answered. “His prayers were all unanswered and so he does not deserve anything.”

“You are mistaken!” the voice rebuked him. “He had only one prayer, which I answered. If not for that, you would not have received any of my blessings.”

“Tell me,” the first man asked the voice, “What did he pray for that I should owe him anything?”

“He prayed that all your prayers be answered “

Moral: For all we know, our blessings are not the fruits of our prayers alone, but those of another praying for us (Congregational Prayer). Value your friends, don’t leave your loved ones behind.

Today’s story is shared from the following website: http://www.videoinspiration.net/blog/short-stories-about-friendship/

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Let Us Be Grateful to People Who Make Us Happy…The Power of Kindness

Let us be grateful to people  who make us happy; they  are the charming gardeners  who make our Souls Blossom.   M. ProutI am sooo grateful for those individuals who light the world with their inner light. I hope, someday, to be one of those people – you know, the ones who light up a room when they walk into it. Not because they are important or famous but because there is a light that shines from their heart.

I have been blessed to have been shined upon by many such individuals. They have been both friends and strangers but always they have brought feelings of warmth and sunlight into my soul.

I hope you have been blessed by many such encounters, as well!

I think today’s story wonderfully illustrates that we all have the personal power to be that kind of person! I hope you enjoy!

A 15 Year Blessing From A Homeless Person

–by Blessed66

This is a story that happened 15 years ago but it has always stayed with me since then.

On the way back from work every evening, more often than not there would be a homeless man standing at the exit of the freeway. He looked to be in his late 40’s but was probably a lot younger. He had shoulder length straight black hair a short beard, and he was of average stature.

His eyes were what struck me the most about him, they were brown and they had a sparkle. Like an inside light that was beaming out of his eyes. His eyes, I thought, represented the man in general. People say they can tell a lot from a person’s eyes. It was certainly true in his case. He always waved at every car, he was always happy and smiling and sometimes almost dancing.

Every day after work I would remember to gather any spare change, and put it aside to give to him if I saw him. A feeling of joy would come over me every time I saw him, as I came off the ramp. He had that effect.

I’d quickly roll down my window and give him the coins. Occasionally the red light would be on for a minute and we would ask each other about our day. His answer would always be the same, “I’m blessed!”.

I knew what his answer was going to be every time, yet I would still ask. It amazed me that even in his situation of being homeless he was so positive, and his answer would remind me of how blessed I was. A single mother of four amazing kids, with a place to call home and with a job to provide for my kids.

Then one day I was called into my boss’s office and was told that I was being laid off due to the economy. A feeling of worry engulfed me, and for the rest of that day all I could think of was “how am I going to provide for my kids, how am I going to pay rent, what am I going to do?”

Needless to say that on my way home that day I was very sad and upset. I didn’t remember to look for my spare change and keep it ready like I usually did. I wasn’t feeling the joy as I got off the ramp where the homeless man would be. Yet there he was as always, as I turned the ramp. He set his eyes on me, while still smiling and waving at others.

I’d hoped to catch the green light, but I missed it. While I was waiting for the red light to turn, he strolled over to my car. He had a big smile he looked me straight in the eyes and said “today I will give you a dollar”. He then reached into his pocket and pulled out a dollar bill. I was blown away. I burst into tears. I wanted to jump out of my car and hug him!

You see that day he gave me more than a dollar bill, he taught me a valuable lesson. No matter what material things are taken from you, no one can take away your choice to be joyful. My ride home was smooth sailing, I had lost my job, had no savings, but I knew I was blessed!

Every time I’m faced with challenges, I think of the homeless man’s valuable lesson and remember that I am blessed.

Story shared from the following website: http://www.kindspring.org/story/view.php?sid=19544

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Good Deeds Never Go Out of Style!

How Far that Little Candle Throws His Beams So Shines a Good Deed in a Weary World Williams ShakespeareI am sooo very grateful for the good deeds of others – both from those I call friends and from those I call strangers. My life has been abundantly blessed by their care, concern, and service! My post must be short today as my IP service is being less than reliable!

I hope that your life has been blessed by good deeds! I also hope that you will pay those kindnesses forward! We all are blessed by the goodness in this world!

I hope you enjoy today’s story!:

Friday morning, after I dropped my son off at school, I had a phone meeting with one of my favorite colleagues, mental health advocate Gina Nikkel of the Foundation for Excellence in Mental Health Care. Suddenly, there was a loud crash; I abruptly ended the call. A car had rear-ended me.

I was okay, and the other driver, she was fine, too — physically at least. My car was only slightly affected, but the woman’s car was in bad shape. Her hood was completely damaged and bright, yellow-green fluid had started to pour out from underneath the car. I asked for her insurance information, but the woman said she didn’t have any; when I asked for her driver’s license, it turns out that she didn’t have a valid license either.

The appropriate thing to do was to call the insurance company and, maybe, the police, but I couldn’t.

The truth is that this easily could have been me in her spot. This week, I’ve worked 14-hour days, fallen asleep on the couch in my clothes, and have had bouts of insomnia as I prepare for four events on the East and West Coasts. I have been tired and stressed and functioning on less than a full cylinder. I have also been very openhearted and hopeful these past few days, as I’ve been working with the Fountain House, an inspiring mental health organization who we are collaborating with this weekend for Good Deeds Day. I was tired, but more importantly I was also inspired as we worked towards our shared mission of filling Herald Square with post it notes with messages of #flawlesslove to the world on social media and specifically to the members of Fountain House.

I remember another time in my life like this. It was a few years ago on a day that happened to be a spiritual double header — Good Friday and the first night of Passover. I was confronted by a man, who was not in touch with reality, in a dark corner of a gas station. Another person might have been scared, but because of how I frail I was feeling in that moment, my guard was down and I saw the perfection in that man: Our humanity connected us, and I’ll never forget the tender exchange that followed when he broke down and cried with tears of gratitude when I gave him the money he had requested.

Today was the same. Immediately I sensed that this woman was struggling, and with just a few questions, I found out that she was a retired veteran, that her husband had just left her, and that her license had been suspended because she didn’t have the money to pay for the tickets. She’d been driving to a doctor’s appointment at the VA hospital when she had crashed into my car.

All of the logistical questions — like what to do about the damage to my car, what to do about her lack of insurance and her suspended license — melted away in the rush hour traffic as we just stood together in a moment of pure connection on the side of the highway. I told her that I run a mental health organization and, after I gave her my card, I put my hand on her shoulder as we stayed locked in a powerful glance of affection and said goodbye.

Should I have called the police? Perhaps. Did I do enough to help her? Probably not. But in those few minutes, when time stood still, by seeing the perfection and light in this woman, I made space for this one, small, good deed, acknowledging our common human frailty. After all, it turns out I know just how important it was for her to get to her appointment at the VA hospital. I pray that she made it.

I have to see the perfection in my choice which may not have been logical in this situation but in my heart felt like the right thing to do. Not holding this woman up on her way to her appointment at the VA Hospital was my good deed. As we celebrate Good Deeds Day worldwide tomorrow, what will you do to spread the #flawlesslove?

Story shared from the following website: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/janine-francolini/a-crash-of-flawlesslove_1_b_9651552.html

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