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"Laff" your way to better health.
From Nancy's "Ask the Expert" article in Your Personal Best magazine.

What is it about laughter that helps?

Laffter is a great Rx with no negative side effects! It has great physical, emotional and spiritual value. While laffing, you can't feel pain, anger, sadness, gloom, hurt, jealousy, etc. Humor helps all relationships, and people with good humor are a magnet for others. If A Laff a Day Keeps the Doctor Away, think of what hundreds of laffs can do!

What happens to the body physiologically when we laugh?

As the Humor Doctor prescribing laffter, here are a few of the effects on your body. While giggling, your lungs and bloodstream get more oxygen, every organ of your body jogs, all your systems get massaged, your heart rate increases as if exercising, your blood pressure decreases and you end up with a healthy, relaxing heart rate. Plus those delightful natural healing morsels, endorphins, are released throughout your body.

How many times a day should we laugh to feel the benefits?

A few minutes of deep guffawing can cause up to two hours of decreased pain while those endorphins are swimming through your system. So, just think how much more healthy you'll be if you have laffter breaks every few hours.

How can we get more humor into our lives?

For starters, STOP watching news in the morning, before bed and during meals. You won't miss anything, as 24-hour news channels are a blessing and curse, and you'll be eradicating so much unnecessary negativity. Think about what makes you laff and make sure you have 10 minutes of playtime every day, even if you think you can't fit it in. If you love Lucy, watch an episode daily. Enjoy show music? Listen to a Broadway show and sing during your commute. If spiritual activities are important, do them daily. Surround yourself with people who enrich your life, not negate it. (Yep, I know, you can't divorce those family members. Buy yourself toys, bubbles, Bugs Bunny undies. You might think you have neither time nor money to do things you enjoy, but laffter is FREE.

When is laughter most important?

Laffter is always essential for a well-balanced life at home, work and in social situations. The best memorial services are full of giggles and joy about the person who has departed. But of course, when you’re blue or sick, find an enjoyable activity.We must go through all the emotions, but a healthy attitude can help work miracles. When I'm really down, and believe me, even Humor Queens get down, I sing, watch old musicals or look at funny greeting cards—now there's a good free laff session! I’ll send a funny card to a friend when I'm down and one to myself. And nature always helps me heal.

What are some ways to teach the importance of humor to children?

Studies have shown that children laff dozens of times more than adults. They can teach us a few things about humor. If you need some laffs, borrow a child and watch their joy at the simplest things. We need to encourage their laffter and joy always, but of course never at anyone else's expense. And since the best way to feel better is to help someone else, modeling charity and compassion and being happy for other people are great ongoing lessons for children.

How can your laughter affect those around you?

If we look to magazines and Hollywood — where I used to live — kind of them to let me live there when I wear much more than a size 2 — we think we need to have a thin body, thick portfolio and gorgeous mate to be joyful. But studies have shown that the number one trait both sexes want in a mate is—ta da—what do you think? A sense of HUMOR. When all is said and done, things can be taken away, gravity makes formerly firm body parts droop, life happens. But no one can take away your attitude and humor.

Everyone wants to be around people who make them feel good and make them laff at home and at work. The best managers have humor. And it’s a great tool for conflict management.Humor is a gift you give yourself and to all around you. Humor enhances every aspect of your health, your life and the lives of everyone you know. Make sure you give that gift often. 

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