Laugh Your Stress Away
The three-pronged approach of the wellness committee includes emphasis on exercise, nutrition and stress-reduction. This semester we are encouraged to evaluate the stress level in our lives and to make conscious choices to decrease the amount of negative stress in our daily lives. Our health and happiness can be improved through stress-reduction. Dr. Dean Ornish teaches his patients with heart disease to follow an exercise routine, eat a very strict diet, participate in relaxation and stress-reduction, and gain support from a group of family members or other patients. This approach has been found to actually reverse documented heart disease.
What are some of the ways that we can reduce stress in our lives? One important attribute which can make our lives more enjoyable and less stressful is humor. What ever happened to the idea of doing things just for the fun of it? Humor can range anywhere from warmth to laughter and allows us to step back from ourselves to regain perspective. One person describes humor as "jogging for your mind." Another calls it "nutrition for the spirit." Kaye Ann Herth, a nurse educator from Northern Illinois University, suggests that we keep a joy journal and write down those items that brought us joy during each day. I have always enjoyed the quick lift that a cartoon or joke brings to a class or presentation. Humor at its best is constructive and passes the AT&T test- it is appropriate, timely and tasteful.
Some other time-tested ideas for reducing stress can be added to our lives. A hot bath or shower can soothe harried nerves and allow uninterrupted relaxation. Stress usually changes your breathing pattern and can often be eliminated by slow, deep, and relaxing breaths. Take a mini-vacation: go to a movie, a sporting event or window shopping. Whatever helps you relieve stress could keep you healthy as well as happy. Smiles are contagious- share one today!