Zoom Autism Magazine Issue 3 Spring 2015 - Page 55

F Feeling rundown? Overwhelmed? Stressed? Try laughing! Scientists and doctors have found that laughing really might be the best medicine after all. Nothing works faster to bring your body, mind and spirit back into balance than a good laugh. Laughter helps change your perspective of a situation; it lightens the mood, lifts your burdens, inspires hope, connects you to others, and keeps you grounded. It also can strengthen your immune system, boost your energy, diminish pain, and protect you from the damaging effects of stress. to do it. It’s okay because the thing about humor and laughing is that it is something you can learn to do. The next few pages are filled with suggestions to help you turn your frown upside and tickle your funny bone. We change physiologically when we laugh. We stretch muscles throughout our face and body, our pulse and blood pressure go up, and we breathe faster, sending more oxygen to our tissues. In many ways laughing is like a workout. Some researchers, who obviously had way too much time on their hands, even did a study on laughing and found that 10 to 15 minutes of nonstop laughing can burn around 50 calories! Don’t believe it? Ever laughed so hard your belly physically ached afterwards? It’s a mini ab workout! But perhaps it’s been so long since you have had a good laugh that you just don’t remember how 2. Count your blessings. The conscious effort of considering the good things in your life will distance you from negative thoughts that get in the way of humor. 5 Quick Ways to Help You Lighten Up 1. SMILE! It’s the first step to laughing, and some claim it takes 43 muscles to frown and only 17 to smile. Just think of the time and energy you will be saving! 3. Surround yourself with reminders to laugh. Keep a silly little toy on your desk at work, set a funny picture as your screensaver or hang an amusing poster on your office wall. There is a reason why the “Hang in there, Baby” cat hanging from a tree poster has been around since the 70’s. It’s funny! Zoom Autism Through Many Lenses 55