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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The D’s of Depression – Delve Into the Depths of Your Soul Part 2

Knowing Yourself is the Beginning of all Wisdom Aristotle

As I mentioned yesterday, this week we are going to address the incredibly important first step in overcoming depression: Knowing Yourself.  You may think you know yourself. After all, you spend every second of every day with yourself!

However, I believe that most people in general and virtually all individuals who are going through depression don’t know themselves well at all.

If I could, I would take each precious soul that is suffering with depression and spend some quality time with them and help them understand how amazing and wonderful this world is, how perfect and incredible the love that God has for them is, and the gift that they are to this world that we share.

In this first step to overcoming depression, it is vital that we do some serious self-evaluation and self-knowledge work. I found a wonderful to share with you today!

Whether you are going through depression or not, I hope you will take some time and get to know yourself better! Knowing who we are…knowing who we truly are is the foundation step to both endeavors: creating a depression-free life and creating a meaningful life.

I hope you will give yourself the gift of you by getting to know yourself better! You are worth the time and effort!

Get To Know Yourself: 29 Questions to Discover the Real You

At the core of our desires is living a life of purpose and meaning.

At the core of a life of purpose and meaning is being of service to others.

At the core of being of service to others is finding peace and happiness.

At the core of finding peace and happiness, we discover who we are.

And to do that, we must get over a little irony, that most of us hardly know – much less, know well – the single person we have spent every second of our existence with, our own selves.

Think you’re the exception? Let me ask you then: how well do you know yourself?

We are not talking about taking a personality test or learning about your family history. Neither are we talking about your favorite colors, your best childhood friend or your high school prom experience (thank goodness about the last one ;)).

We are talking about something much greater and of higher consequence. We are talking about who you are at your core, what most matters to you, what makes you come alive, what feeds your soul and what drains your spirit, and how to know the difference so you choose well as you move forward in life.

If you don’t know yourself all that well, you may still live a life in alignment with who you are but only by accident or some sheer stroke of luck.

And that, my darling, is too big a risk to take, so shall we eliminate the risk altogether?

Make it a certainty that you live in alignment with who you are not by accident or luck, but rather on purpose, by intention, by design.

How? By getting to know yourself really really well. One way to do that is to learn your values, passions and goals. Another is to ask the right questions.

How to Get to Know Yourself: 29 Questions to Self-Discovery

Here are just 29 questions that open the door to having a real conversation with yourself. I want to ask you to answer these questions honestly for yourself.

When you are ready to do this, copy these questions into a text document, quiet all outside distractions, take a few deep relaxing breaths, make a great cuppa tea, clear your mind of noise and clutter and dive in.

Know that there are no right or wrong answers. There is only you uncovering the process of building a closer relationship with the person within.

  1. What activity in your life lights you up with joy?
  2. What is something you always love doing, even when you are tired or rushed? Why?
  3. If a relationship or job makes you unhappy, do you choose to stay or leave?
  4. What do you fear about leaving a bad job or a bad relationship?
  5. What do you believe is possible for you?
  6. What have you done in your life that you are most proud of?
  7. What is the thing that you are second most proud of?
  8. What kind of legacy do you want to leave behind?
  9. How does your being here in the universe change humanity for the better?
  10. If you could have one single wish granted, what would it be?
  11. How comfortable are you with your own mortality?
  12. What is your highest core value?
  13. To your best knowledge, how do other people perceive you?
  14. How would you like others to perceive you?
  15. How confident are you in your abilities to make decisions for yourself?
  16. What is your biggest self-limiting belief?
  17. Who is the most important person in your life?
  18. Who is your greatest role model?
  19. Who is a person that you don’t like yet you spend time with?
  20. What is something that is true for you no matter what?
  21. What is your moral compass in making difficult decisions?
  22. What is one failure that you have turned into your greatest lesson?
  23. What role does gratitude play in your life?
  24. How do you feel about your parents?
  25. How is your relationship with money?
  26. How do you feel about growing old someday?
  27. What role has formal education played in your life and how do you feel about it?
  28. Do you believe your destiny is pre-determined or in your hands to shape however you wish?
  29. What do you believe is the meaning of your life?

What If You Don’t Like the Questions Above?

I know. These questions are not meant to be easy or comfortable, but they are important to ask and to know. As you ask yourself questions, the process of self-inquiry begins, and at first, it is uncomfortable and unfamiliar – especially if you have never done it – yet in time, it becomes easier. Even fun.

Because here’s what you may not know. Or be afraid to believe.

You are a unique child of this world. You are brilliant, smart and wise. You are deep and fascinating. You are gifted and talented. You are beyond capable to do what you dream. You are loved, loving and lovable.

You are not too old or too fat or too poor. You are not too slow or too boring. You are simply none of the terrible things you tell yourself. You’re quite the opposite.

You are more than enough.

So while it’s up to you to decide if this self-discovery process is worthwhile, I would say trust me on this. Getting to know yourself IS worthwhile. Just do it!

Written by Farnoosh Brock and shared from the following website: http://www.prolificliving.com/get-to-know-yourself/

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The Work of Being Happy

No misfortune is so bad that whining about it won’t make it worse Jeffrey R. Holland

Working at being happy takes some understanding and sometimes some simplification of our lives. It is best accomplished through being unselfish and caring more about the needs of those you love than about your own selfish desires. Have you ever noticed how miserable some celebrities are? There is a reason. There is no happiness in being a diva, and constantly being served. There is, however, happiness in serving and loving others.

Couch potatoes are rarely happy either. Again, there is a good reason, we are meant to be productive, hard-working individuals and our bodies were made to move! There may be a few highs involved with being a couch potato who has developed some gaming skills but there will not be long-term happiness and joy.

What about those difficult times that we all have? Some almost constantly? We can’t make all difficult circumstances go away but we can change our attitude and the way we address those difficult times. I remember not too long ago, a friend relating to me all of the difficult trials that had recently been a part of her life and then she added that she had met an individual at the hospital that made what she was going through look like a cake walk. Her point to me was that no matter how hard and how bad her life seemed at times, the Lord had reminded her of how much worse it could be and how many blessings were present in her life despite the difficulties.

Long term happiness is not to be found in short term thrills. Tried and true happiness is found in aligning ourselves with the Lord. It is He who knows us best and who knows exactly how to bring joy and happiness into our lives. For me, it is being a part of my family and something bigger than myself. For you, it might be holding a crack baby, watching after grandchildren, or playing with your child. Happiness does not come packaged in difficult to open gift boxes, it comes through loving and being loved.

Today, I am sharing another excerpt from the article by Jeffrey R. Holland called the The Gospel Plan of Happiness. I will share the last excerpt from his article on Monday. I hope you will read it and enjoy the inspired words that Jeffrey R. Holland shares! Have a wonderful weekend and choose to be happy!

Work At It

Here is one last suggestion when there are so many others we should consider. Nephi said that in an effort to find happiness in their new land after their 30 years of trouble, “I, Nephi, did cause my people to be industrious, and to labor with their hands” (2 Nephi 5:17). By contrast, those from whom they fled became “an idle people, full of mischief and subtlety” (2 Nephi 5:24).

If you want to be happy in school or on a mission or at a job or in a marriage—work at it. Learn to work. Serve diligently. Don’t be idle and mischievous. A homespun definition of Christlike character might be the integrity to do the right thing at the right time in the right way. Don’t be idle. Don’t be wasteful. “Seek learning, even by study and also by faith” (D&C 88:118). Be industrious and labor, including laboring for and serving others—one of the truly great keys to true happiness.

Now, let me close by citing Alma’s straightforward counsel to Corianton. With all the encouragement a father would want to give a son or daughter, he said that in the Resurrection the faithful are raised to a state of “endless happiness” wherein they “inherit the kingdom of God” (Alma 41:4). At that time, he added, we will be “raised to happiness according to [our] desires of happiness” (Alma 41:5). But he also sternly cautioned: “Do not suppose … that [without repentance] ye shall be restored from sin to happiness. Behold, I say unto you, wickedness never was happiness” (Alma 41:10; emphasis added).

Sin is the antithesis of “living after the manner of happiness.” Indeed, those who believe otherwise, Alma says, “are without God in the world, and … have gone contrary to the nature of God; therefore, they are in a state contrary to the nature of happiness” (Alma 41:11).

Excerpt of article by Jeffrey R. Holland entitled The Gospel Plan of Happiness was shared from the following website: https://www.lds.org/ensign/2017/09/the-gospel-path-to-happiness?lang=eng

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True Wealth is Not Contained in a Bank Account

You're not rich until you have something money cannot buy   Garth Brooks

Today I share both a story and some wonderful thoughts!

I am one of the wealthiest people I know… not because of the number of digits that are contained in my bank accounts but because of the priceless blessings that are mine!

I have an incredible marriage! I am blessed to be married to my best friend. I think that since I have been happily married for almost 40 years that I have the right to make that claim! 🙂

I have wonderful children and grandchildren who bless my life with their love and their presence!

I am blessed to have true and supportive friends and to live in a country in which I am allowed to exercise personal and religious freedom. I do not take my freedom for granted and I am ever grateful to those who have sacrificed and will sacrifice so that I and my fellow countrymen can continue to enjoy the freedoms our nation was founded upon.

I live in a wonderful community and have kind, thoughtful and considerate neighbors.

I am truly blessed with an abundant life! I hope your life is blessed with abundance as well!

I hope you will have a wonderful weekend and that you enjoy today’s story and thoughts!

Time, Love, and Money

An old man asked me, “With what do you buy your money?”

I said, “With your life.”

He said,“Right! I wish I had known that when I was young. I spent my life working for money instead of living.”

Time, love and money are the three legs of truth wealth’s stool. The time allotted to your life is utterly fundamental; a finite constantly depleting resource. Have you loved enough? Have you made money, invested money, and spent money in a way that sustains life on this earth for seven generations to come? Most don’t think we have time for these questions. We can be occupied working for money that we buy cars, drive to places, buy food from thousands of miles away, thus depleting earth’s natural capital without noticing it.

Many people will say that they are making good money, but have no sense of free time. They hope that someday in the future they will have time for the things they really enjoy like family and nature. Often that day never comes. I once worked at the headquarters of Standard Oil. My life had become the company. When I went home, my mind was preoccupied with Standard Oil. One day I awoke to realize that I worked in an environment that was loveless. I had money, but love and time where in short supply.

What is money? It’s a symbol for value, it is information; it is abstract. Humans are driven by symbols to go to war and fight for abstract causes. Money, being utterly abstract, is often valued more for itself than for what it actually buys – it is the ultimate “field of dreams”. Individuals and societies measure self-worth by financial net-worth, but this devalues the deeper qualities of awareness and soul that are the true source of all value.

Walking by a beautiful garden filled with iris flowers, someone might think: “I don’t own it, how unfortunate!” So they miss the simple of joy of the experience. You don’t need to own things in order to enjoy them. To really “have” something we must be present to it. Taking time to appreciate the existence of an object, a friend, or a place is really having that object before us.

Wealth is transpersonal because it is “beyond the personal”. Everything that we do to accumulate wealth depends on past human efforts; as well as the Earth, the solar system, and the cosmos at large. You are not your own source of supply. Companies create private wealth by extracting resources from nature as if nature is “free” and unlimited. Water, for example, was always free. Industrial pollution turns water into another commodity with price barriers for the poor and helpless. This situation creates transpersonal poverty.

There can be a wealth of time. Societies can make time for living, for singing, for family, for just sitting and watching. This wealth is greater than the focus on consuming goods and working to pump up the “gross domestic product”.

A man can become homeless and starve to death in a big city filled with apartments, hotels, and food. It is not just lack of money that brings us to the homeless state. Depression, lack of faith in life, lack of friends, and lack of family ties can bring one to this place. Call it lack of love.

We cannot be truly wealthy in such societies with extremes of poverty and riches. The expansive homes of the few wealthy are beautiful, but the society is really poor and ugly. So many become restless and debased is such a society. I cannot relax in a mansion without security systems and insensitivity to the disparity around me. Just like the Buddhists who say they cannot become enlightened until everyone is enlightened, you and I cannot be truly wealthy until all are “wealthy”. Clearly, a new meaning of wealth needs to emerge for the culture at large.

Balanced Wealth Portfolio

An investor will diversify her assets into different categories of assets so as to balance out risk with the changing tides of market fortunes. The seeker of true wealth balances the assets of time, love and money across the dimensions of personal, interpersonal and transpersonal – thus optimizing abundant life for themselves, neighbors, future generations, and Earth.

A balanced wealth portfolio can be attained by disciplining the ego and personal pride. This spiritual practice has ramifications for self, society, and life on earth. Portfolios are lists of assets by categories. We could begin by playing with lists of “assets”. One simple list of categories for grouping our assets would look like this:

1. Personal-money

2. Personal-time

3. Personal-love

4. Interpersonal-money

5. Interpersonal-time

6. Interpersonal-love

7. Transpersonal-money

8. Transpersonal-time

9. Transpersonal-love

These categories are not absolute; they are starting points to help us on the road to true wealth realization. Make up your own categories and lists. Begin from where you are, and expand to include larger dimensions of wealth.

True Wealth Realization Practice

Wealth is usually defined by external measures: affluence, millionaire money levels, ownership and control of companies, and influence over people. Look deeper; and, there is the feeling of being wealthy or poor more or less independent of external wealth measures. Work with that feeling so as to become more independent of the strictly personal illusions of money-wealth and poverty.

Remember who you really are. This means giving yourself the time to contact your own ultimate wealth: the soul. Your own soul is your own ultimate wealth. As you begin to be wealthy in yourself, you will be able to extend your sense of wealth to include others and reality at large. Every soul is the same soul – only covered by different personality, history and circumstances. I could have been any one of the other people that I see everyday.

To awaken to this very moment is truth wealth. This moment is in truth all we really have and own. Everything else is just on loan; we must give it all back in the end.

Today’s inspiring story is shared from the following website: realizing-true-wealth-americ-azevedo

 

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Thankfulness vs Gratitude…

Thankfulness is measured by the number of words. Gratitude is measured by the nature of our actions.  David O. McKayWe understand that the human experience is filled with emotions. Emotions are the spice that give the cake flavor.

What we don’t always understand is the power of our emotions for both good and bad.

I often see the powerful effect of emotions. As a result of those experiences, I believe that our emotions may be the single most important factor in regards to our health.

There are two things that I believe can redeem our health (all areas) more dramatically than anything else: The emotion of Gratitude and the Act of Forgiveness.

When we read in the scriptures about becoming as a small child, I think of Gratitude and Forgiveness. A small child is naturally grateful and naturally forgiving. As we grow into adulthood those tendencies often become less and less automatic. Often, the gift of gratitude and forgiving must be cultivated deliberately.

Take some time to reflect today. If all areas of your health were dependent on your ability to have gratitude and to give forgiveness, how well can you realistically expect to be? Do you feel good about where you are or do you need to do some work? (I always need to do some work but that’s okay as long as I keep working at it!)

I share today’s story because even though it does not directly address forgiving or thankfulness – underlying the story I believe is a complete foundation of thankfulness and gratitude! I hope you enjoy!:

Thanks For Taking Care of Me

— Author Unknown

Like most elementary schools, it was typical to have a parade of students in and out of the health clinic throughout the day. We dispensed ice for bumps and bruises, Band-Aids for cuts, and liberal doses of sympathy and hugs. As principal, my office was right next door to the clinic, so I often dropped in to lend a hand and help out with the hugs. I knew that for some kids, mine might be the only one they got all day.

One morning I was putting a Band-Aid on a little girl’s scraped knee. Her blonde hair was matted, and I noticed that she was shivering in her thin little sleeveless blouse. I found her a warm sweatshirt and helped her pull it on. “Thanks for taking care of me,” she whispered as she climbed into my lap and snuggled up against me.

It wasn’t long after that when I ran across an unfamiliar lump under my arm. Cancer, an aggressively spreading kind, had already invaded thirteen of my lymph nodes. I pondered whether or not to tell the students about my diagnosis. The word breast seemed so hard to say out loud to them, and the word cancer seemed so frightening.

When it became evident that the children were going to find out one way or another, either the straight scoop from me or possibly a garbled version from someone else, I decided to tell them myself. It wasn’t easy to get the words out, but the empathy and concern I saw in their faces as I explained it to them told me I had made the right decision. When I gave them a chance to ask questions, they mostly wanted to know how they could help. I told them that what I would like best would be their letters, pictures and prayers.

I stood by the gym door as the children solemnly filed out. My little blonde friend darted out of line and threw herself into my arms. Then she stepped back to look up into my face. “Don’t be afraid, Dr. Perry,” she said earnestly, “I know you’ll be back because now it’s our turn to take care of you.”

No one could have ever done a better job. The kids sent me off to my first chemotherapy session with a hilarious book of nausea remedies that they had written. A video of every class in the school singing get-well songs accompanied me to the next chemotherapy appointment. By the third visit, the nurses were waiting at the door to find out what I would bring next. It was a delicate music box that played “I Will Always Love You.”

Even when I went into isolation at the hospital for a bone marrow transplant, the letters and pictures kept coming until they covered every wall of my room.

Then the kids traced their hands onto colored paper, cut them out and glued them together to make a freestanding rainbow of helping hands. “I feel like I’ve stepped into Disneyland every time I walk into this room,” my doctor laughed. That was even before the six-foot apple blossom tree arrived adorned with messages written on paper apples from the students and teachers. What healing comfort I found in being surrounded by these tokens of their caring.

At long last I was well enough to return to work. As I headed up the road to the school, I was suddenly overcome by doubts. What if the kids have forgotten all about me? I wondered, What if they don’t want a skinny bald principal? What if I caught sight of the school marquee as I rounded the bend. “Welcome Back, Dr. Perry,” it read. As I drew closer, everywhere I looked were pink ribbons – ribbons in the windows, tied on the doorknobs, even up in the trees. The children and staff wore pink ribbons, too.

My blonde buddy was first in line to greet me. “You’re back, Dr. Perry, you’re back!” she called. “See, I told you we’d take care of you!”

As I hugged her tight, in the back of my mind I faintly heard my music box playing… “I will always love you.”

Story shared from the following website: http://www.inspire21.com/stories/truestories/thanksfortakingcareofme

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