Why a Laugh a day Keeps the Doctor Away

Smiling and laughter are simple expressions, but experiencing them can make any normal situation into something special. Whether it’s the surprise of a stranger smiling at you on the subway, or the comfort of your boss laughing with you about some joke, there is something magical about this ordinary expression. We love to laugh together for a number of reasons. Smiling and laughing are not only fun, they’re good for your health—not just physically, but socially and emotionally, as well. Let’s dive into the benefits of smiling and laughing to find out why a laugh a day really does keep the doctor away.

Benefits of Smiling and Laughing

Smiling and laughing seem to be phenomena that have developed on an evolutionary basis. Human expressions of happiness
are culturally universal. They are one of the most basic human behaviors, starting at six weeks after birth, when babies start mimicking the smiles and laughter that the adults around them express in pleasant moments. Children learn to tell their caretakers when they are happy very early in life, and continue to apply this communication skill for the rest of their lives.

The simple, genuine behaviors of smiling and laughing seem to have exceptional impact on social interactions, enabling unique bonds with friends and family and setting a basis for joyful communication. There is a good reason for how much people appreciate sharing a sense of humor in friendships and relationships.

Having a good laugh improves the atmosphere by making it more relaxed and less tense, leading to less conflict and more cooperation. Having something to laugh about with a friend, coworker, or family member gives you some common ground for good feelings. Practicing humorous exchanges sets a precedent for positive interactions in interpersonal relationships.

Laughter is the Best Medicine

Research has shown that laughing for 10 – 15 minutes a day burns up to 40 calories and relaxes muscles for up to 45 minutes. Even more importantly, laughter boosts the immune system, lowers blood pressure, and stimulates the release of endorphins. Frequently described as ‘happiness hormones’, endorphins are released during physical sensation and activity, and are responsible for feelings of euphoria and pain relief. Opiate and opioid pain medication actually works by binding to the same receptors that endorphins affect. While opiates are necessary in  unfortunate situations that require anesthesia, the brain is actually pretty good at stimulating opiate receptors by releasing its own hormones. Endorphin release leads to an increase of positive emotions, which definitely qualifies it as a laughing matter.

While smiling and laughing are clearly beneficial to physical health, they seem to have an even more powerful effect on mental health. Crawford and Caltabiano (2011) conducted an experiment that involved the use of a group humor skills program. The study found that participants who were “trained in humor” by the program showed increased self-efficacy, positive thinkingoptimism and perceptions of control, and decreased negative thinking and depression and anxiety symptoms, as compared with untrained participants. Knowing what to say to make others laugh can actually help protect you against common mental health problems. Most importantly, knowing your way around humor helps reinforce a positive state of mind.Beauty Knows No Pain—Or Does It?

Beauty Knows No Pain—Or Does It?

So what happens if you can’t physically smile or laugh? Do the positive effects of these behaviors diminish? In 2010, Davis et al. compared the impact of BOTOX injections (which paralyze muscles of facial expression) and control Restylane injections (which is a cosmetic filler that does not affect facial muscles) on self-reported emotional experience. Between-groups comparisons showed that relative to controls, BOTOX participants exhibited a significant overall decrease in the strength of their emotional experiences. Apparently, the physical act of smiling and laughing really intensifies good feelings. Because of the endorphin release that physical laughter triggers, this should come as little surprise.

Laughter Yoga

Laughter should be a part of everyday life, but it is also possible to incorporate it into your daily routine as an exercise. This type of workout is called Laughter Yoga. A recent study demonstrates that after one session of laughter yoga, participants experienced a decrease in both stress and anxiety, as well as an overall improved sense of well-being and a decrease in negative emotions (Internicola, 2012). Sounds laughable? That’s a reason to try it out!

Smiling and laughter are simple expressions, but experiencing them can make any normal situation into something special. Whether it’s the surprise of a stranger smiling at you on the subway, or the comfort of your boss laughing with you about some joke, there is something magical about this ordinary expression. We love to laugh together for a number of reasons. Smiling and laughing are not only fun, they’re good for your health—not just physically, but socially and emotionally, as well. Let’s dive into the benefits of smiling and laughing to find out why a laugh a day really does keep the doctor away.

Source: https://positivepsychologyprogram.com/laugh-day-keeps-doctor-away/#benefits-smiling-laughing

Happy Brain

Today rather than write a blog I thought I would add this TedX talk by Dr  Amit Sood on Happy Brain How To Overcome Our Neural Predispositions to Suffering. A worthwhile contributor to listen to.

Continue reading “Happy Brain”

Our Not So Perfect World

Last week I wrote about Our Not So Perfect Selves. This is a continuation about us as a race. It saddens me to think that with all our knowledge, skills and resources, we as a human race have not changed all that much or implemented lessons from our past.

Over a period of two weeks, I happened to see two movies, The Zookeepers Wife and The Promise. Both set in two different parts of the world, one in Warsaw, Poland and the other in Turkey. The Zookeeper’s Wife was set in Poland and dealt with the extermination/genocide of Jews who were herded like cattle in what became known as the Warsaw Ghetto, and their eventual demise at the hands of the invading force of German Nazis. The other was about the extermination/genocide of the Armenian people who existed in Turkey by the hands of their fellow countrymen.

Continue reading “Our Not So Perfect World”

Our Not So Perfect Selves

Have you heard of archetypes? These are personality types and the ones below were created by Caroline Myss. They depict an aspect of your personality that makes you keep doing the things you do. Being aware of them is one step to making a change within yourself.

There are over 70 archetypes. Myss states that ‘to help you understand and fulfill your life, you have been encoded with a set of 12 primary archetypes. Four of these are universal archetypes related to survival: the Child, Victim, Prostitute, and Saboteur. We all have these because they are vital to our growth and functioning as adults. The other eight are drawn from the vast storehouse of archetypes and play valuable roles that relate to our work, our relationships with individuals and society, as well as to our spirituality, finances, values, and our highest potential ‘. An example of some of these are listed below’.

  • A Partial Listing of Archetypes

    Actor                    Addict                     Anarchist                Alchemist               Artist             Avenger               Beggar                    Bully                         Bureaucrat            Caregiver     Child                    Clown                      Companion             Coward                  Craftsperson Crook                   Crone                      Damsel                     Detective               Dictator         Dilettante            Diplomat                Disciple                    Dreamer                Diva               Eternal                 M/F Evangelist      Fool                           Gala                       Gambler       God                       Goddess                  Gossip                      Healer                    Herlad
    Hermit                 Hero                        Historian                 Innovator              Judge             Knight                  Lover                       Liberator                Magician                Martyr           Masochist            Matriarch               Midas                       Monk                     Muse               Mystic                  Nature M/F             Networker              Nun                        Olympian       Patriarch             Pilgrim                    Pioneer                    Poet                        Politician       Predator              Priest                       Prince                      Princess                 Prophet         Prostitute            Provocateur           Puck                         Puppet                    Puritan         Rebel                    Redeemer               Rescuer                   Revolutionary       Robot             Saboteur              Sadist                      Sage                         Samaritan              Scholar         Scout                    Seductress              Seeker                     Seer                         Servant         Settler                  Scribe                      Shaman                  Sidekick                  Slave             Spoiler                 Storyteller              Student                   Teacher                   Thief               Tramp                  Trickster .               Tyrant                     Vampire                 Victim Visionary             Warrior                  Witch                      Wizard                    Zombie

  • For more details: https://www.myss.com/free-resources/sacred-contracts-and-your-archetypes/appendix-the-four-archetypes-of-survival/

    How often do we study ourselves in any depth? Last night sitting with friends over dinner we ended up discussing this very point. It’s only we when lose something do we think about and reflect on our loss. With promises to ourselves to make changes and not repeat the same mistakes,  we undertake courses, read books, research and find information about a variety of things and we believe we can and will make those changes.

    Unfortunately once we get back into our comfort zone, we do not continue to reflect but rather tend to revert back to our old ways. Not until an issue rears its ugly head or a warning bell rings, do we think OMG that’s what happened before. It’s only then that whatever we learnt, we start trying to do something about.

    So why do I bring this up? This is where the archetypes come forth. Myss states there are universal ones that are within all of us but you may be thinking how do these archetypes really relate to me? The Prostitute for example is one that I could imagine might offend some people, but this is about us having control over our body, mind and spirit, saying “I am not for sale.” Thus applies to not being held to ransom.

    If you are a relatively positive person being a Saboteur may not sit well either. To understand this we need to examine how it relates to the many ways in which we undermine ourselves. For example, how often do we set new plans in motion, only to end up not following through due to fears that undermine those plans. The Victim on the other hand can alert you to the possibility that you could permit yourself to be victimised or alternatively it could make you more aware of your own tendencies to victimise others.

    The last of the four universal archetypes is the Child and this one is far more complex than the others. The child could be one of seven different personality types. The Child relates specifically to nurturing that part of us that yearns to be lighthearted and innocent, expecting the wonders of tomorrow, regardless of age.It establishes our perceptions of life, safety, nurturing, loyalty and family.

    Looking at ourselves never really hurt anyone except maybe ourselves with the realisation that we are not perfect and that we do make mistakes. Maybe looking at the Myss archetypes may be of value to you.

    © Conversations That Matter



Journeying to the Other Side

 No matter if we are young or older, anxiety can hit us at anytime. The pressures of life are but one re-occurring theme, but more importantly are the pressures that we put on ourselves that need to be managed. Many people journey from stress to relaxation and seem to manage it whereas others just journey to the other side and get stuck there, seeing nothing but angst.

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Turmeric Orange Chia Seed Pudding

Our wellness in our relationships is  inter related with what we consume. Healthy eating and looking after our bodies, mind and spirit are foremost in having quality relationships.
Vegan Gluten-free Nut-free Soy-free Recipe. Serves 2


Prep time

5 mins
Cook time
10 mins
Total time
15 mins
  • 1 can coconut milk or 1⅓ cup non dairy milk of choice
  • ¾ to 1 tsp turmeric
  • ¼ tsp ground ginger
  • ¼ tsp ground cinnamon ( or cardamom or other spices)
  • a good dash of black pepper
  • 1 tbsp orange preserves or zest of half a small orange
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup or more to taste
  • ¼ cup + 2 tbsp chia seeds
  1. Heat 1 cup of the coconut milk, turmeric, ginger, cinnamon, pepper over medium heat until just boiling. Take off heat.
  2. Add rest of the coconut milk, orange preserves, maple syrup and chia seeds and mix vigorously. Taste and adjust sweet, flavor if needed. Let it sit to cool completely for 10 to 15 minutes.
  3. Whisk the mixture vigorously again. The chia seeds should have expanded a bit and should distribute well. You can directly serve at this point or pour into serving containers and chill for more hydrated chia seeds and thicker pudding. Garnish with whipped coconut cream and candied ginger and serve.

What Are You Willing To Struggle For?

Everybody wants what feels good. Everyone wants to live a carefree, happy and easy life, to fall in love and have amazing sex and relationships, to look perfect and make money and be popular and well-respected and admired and a total baller to the point that people part like the Red Sea when you walk into the room.

Everyone would like that — it’s easy to like that.

Continue reading “What Are You Willing To Struggle For?”