I Dare You NOT to Laugh!

April is Stress Awareness Month. If you aren’t aware of that fact, I’d bet that you are at least aware of all the stress in your life. But let’s not talk about our stressors. Let’s talk about what we can do to ease them. An old wives tale tells us that “Laughter is the Best Medicine.” Research suggests that this might just be true! Here’s why.

Laughter reduces the levels of stress hormones in our bodies. At the same time, it increases the release of feel good chemicals like endorphins. It can also help to boost the immune system to keep you more germ resistant and healthy.

Oh you want more proof? How about this? Laughter could improve your social life. When you smile or laugh, you make yourself more inviting. Think about it. If you saw a room full of people would you approach the brooders or the ones who looked happy? Enough said!

Laughter is contagious. Have you ever heard someone laugh so hard that you laughed too? Now imagine if you made other people laugh. I think you’d be building some seriously good karma.

Lastly, laughter is FREE. You have no fiscal excuse not to engage in it.

What does all this have to do with parenting? Quite simply, a less stressed parent is a healthier parent whose happiness will positively affect the family!

So what do you think? Can you commit to consciously laughing for the remainder of April? Here is a favorite video of mine to get you started. I know, I know! You may have seen this before but isn’t it worth repeating for all the reasons I outlined above?

Go ahead. I dare you not to laugh! When you’re done watching, come back and leave us a comment including what makes you laugh. What funny movies or jokes can you share with us?

In case the video link is not working, you can access the video here.

The Parenting Oxygen Mask

oxygen mask, me time, relaxation, breathe, deep breathing, meditate If you have been on an airplane and have actually listened to the safety instructions you know what to do if cabin pressure drops and the oxygen mask is required.  First you put on your own mask and then you help others.  Why should you go first? Two obvious reasons come to mind.  First, a child companion would be more likely to put on an oxygen mask if they see a parent role model it.  Second, logic tells us that we have to be able to breathe in order to help someone else breathe!

Parenting is no different.  In order to be less stressed and more effective, parents have to find their oxygen mask, put it on, and keep it on.  Follow this fundamental step, and you'll be sending a steady stream of oxygen to recharge your spirit.  How would this benefit you?  How would a stronger “you” benefit your family?

Whether you choose a rigorous work out, read a book, light a candle and meditate, or watch a funny sitcom, carve out a small portion of your day to have your solitary "me time".  What’s a small portion?  How about 30 minutes?  Yes.  You can!  

 Allow yourself to look forward to this time in your day and revel in it when you get there.  The mindset that accompanies your chosen activity is what makes the critical difference.  Carefully choose something that feels good deep down in your soul and luxuriate in it.  Once you’ve chosen your activity, pick a time of day in which you can accomplish it.  Then, like Nike says, “Just Do It!”  And, remember L’Oreal’s slogan?  It says “Because I’m worth it!”  Combine those and you have “Just do it Because I'm Worth it!

What do you think?  How can you honor your job, your family, and everything else, and still honor yourself?  How will you spend your “me time?”  Please share your ideas in our comments section.