Laughter Is The Best Medicine {1}  

by Feebee A. Clown - RN
( Its Dr. Feebee A. Clown in my book. —Tommy C.— )
" New Attitude Music " - mp3       The lyrics to the song.


Feebee A. Clown, in person.

Former Member of Kanas Ringleader Clown Alley
and C.O.A.I. The human animal is a highly complex organism that lives in an equally, if not more, complex environment filled with a infinite number of stresses and messes, most of which are created by man himself. In a serious attempt to understand the complexities of human behavior and mental processes, we have developed the serious science called psychology. It is obvious to me that life is much too serious to be taken soooo seriously. Therefore, I intend to take a serious look at laughter and how it fits into the scheme of adjustment, relationships, and mental health before I get seriously ill.

According to Webster's New World Dictionary to laugh is "to make the explosive sounds of the voice and the characteristic movements of the features and body, that express mirth, amusement, ridicule, etc." While this definition is suggestive of the average belly laugh, it also correctly suggests, by the use of "etc.", that people laugh for all kinds of reasons, employing a wide variety of types of humor from simple expressions of joy to sarcasm that thinly veils fear and hostility. My intention is to explore not only the various types of humor at our disposal, but also the ways we can use humor in our lives to adjust to adversity and promote our own mental, emotional, and physical health.

All of the research I have done to date on the subject of humor, laughter, frivolity, levity, etc., supports my own theory that laughter is good for you which, as authors John-Roger and Peter McWilliams point out in their most recent book, Life 101, may be unfortunate. "If laughter were only forbidden, then people would do it all the time. The rebel yell would be replaced by the rebel yuck. They'd have laugh police. If they caught you laughing, they'd write you a ticket. Stand-up comics would become stand-up convicts. Sitcoms would be sitcons. Children's programming would have to be watched very carefully. We wouldn't want anyone pushing humor on young, innocent minds. 'What are you kids doing in there?' 'We're drinking beer and smoking cigarettes.' 'That's OK, but no laughing.'"{2}

But, seriously, folks... While there is a lack of solid scientific research into humor therapy, there is considerable case-study and testimonial evidence to support prescribing humor as an adjunct to the more specific forms of therapy, such as diet, medication, and surgery in treating physical illness. Perhaps one of the most published and discussed cases of healing with laughter is that of Norman Cousins. In his book Anatomy of an Illness As Perceived by the Patient, Mr. Cousins describes how he took it upon himself to use humor therapy in conjunction with medical treatment to treat a rare collagen disease from which his doctors had given him little hope of recovery. He developed a systematic program of viewing "Candid Camera" and old Marx Brothers films and reading humorous books. The results he reported were, "that ten minutes of genuine belly laughter had an anesthetic effect and would give me at least two hours of pain-free sleep."{3} The only side-effect from this approach was that it sometimes disturbed the other patients.

Laughter as a means of pain control can be attributed to several things. It reduces muscle tension, distracts attention from the pain, has a positive effect on a person's attitude and can actually stimulate the release of endorphins, the body's natural painkillers. In addition, laughter stimulates the cardiovascular system thereby increasing oxygenation of the blood which further promotes healing.

"Norman Cousins calls laughter a form of internal jogging. In responding to the initial phase of a typical joke, comedy routine or story, muscle tension increases in anticipation of the climax of the story or punchline. Immediately following the story climax, the thorax (chest), abdomen and face get a vigorous workout. In convulsive laughter, where the individual really breaks up, even the legs and arms are involved. During this phase, heart rate, breathing and circulation are speeded up. When the spasm of laughter subsides, the pulse rate drops below normal and the skeletal muscles become deeply relaxed. During the laughter response, the body is revitalized by what sometimes is called internal massage."{4}

Beyond the physiological effects of laughter, a good sense of humor is essential for dealing with all the negative stress and anxiety-producing hassles and obstacles involved in living life on planet earth. The Martian character in Robert A. Heinlein's science fiction novel Stranger In A Strange Land, perhaps states this best in his efforts to understand human behavior. "I've found out why people laugh. They laugh because it hurts... because it's the only thing that'll make it stop hurting." He goes on to observe, "The goodness is in the laughing. I grok (Martian for comprehend) it is a bravery...and a sharing...against pain and sorrow and defeat."{5}

In the face the twentieth century accelerated pace of life, extreme job competition, a sharp rise in the crime rate, phenomenal societal use of drugs and alcohol, and a plethora of self–help books on supermarket shelves, it is difficult to devalue a good sense of humor (unlike the US dollar). Our society has become the living theater of the absurd. Our choices would appear to lie between total despair and laughter.

        Humor is the sense of the absurd
        which is despair refusing to take itself seriously.
        — Arland Ussher —

In the treatment of moderate depression, as in the treatment of physical illness, humor can be a powerful tool. According to Dr. Laurence J. Peter, "The lack of humor and laughter in an individual who normally displays a sense of humor is an indicator of depression. Playfulness and depression are incompatible states of mind. Because playfulness is a prerequisite for humor, the amount of laughter and joking shown by an individual is a good day-by-day picture of his / her progress into or out of depression."{6} Dr. Peter goes on to point out that humor has the power to reduce tensions, as discussed earlier. It can also provide an outlet for otherwise unacceptable feelings, put an individual in a frame of mind conducive to constructive communication with others, often on sensitive matters. And humor can often lead to insight into causes of conflict and emotional disturbance, whatever that cause might be, such as job loss, death of a loved one, divorce or separation, etc.

It might be appropriate at this time to insert a note of caution regarding the use of humor, for there are times when humor can be inappropriate and counter-productive. Humans seem to have a great capacity for turning any tool into a weapon. The same holds true in the use of humor. When we laugh at new ideas we can retard progress, be it in trying to solve the problems of daily living or problems in business. While healthy humor can relive tension and restore perspective, there are sick forms of humor, such as "put-down" comments and insult jokes that can be painful to the point of devastation for the one who is the brunt of this so-called humor. In fact, what is often passed off as a joke or teasing is in reality thinly veiled hostility on the part of the "joker". Certainly a jocular put-down is better than a direct verbal attack or overt violence, but it has been my experience that any form of hurting others has a nasty boomerang effect. An eye-for-an-eye approach to life produces a lot of blind people. We would do well to be vigilant self-monitors of the times our wry cynicism becomes hurtful sarcasm. It is a very narrow path.

In the arena of business management humor has been found to be a powerful tool if it is not used to block new ideas, as mentioned earlier. Often a hot debate in a board meeting can be cooled by a well-timed anecdote, setting the atmosphere for win-win solutions to problems that affect the direction and success of an entire company.

Many companies are beginning to see the wisdom in fostering a certain amount of measured fun in the workplace to boost loyalty, enthusiasm, and productivity in the employees. These tactics can range from familiar activities like company picnics, Christmas parties, athletic events, and casual dress days to the more outlandish "costume" days. A company in Redmond, Washington, that makes heart monitors and defibrillators lightened up their dull workplace by having an employee dress up like a clown and pedal a tricycle towing a little red wagon that carried a siren and a banner announcing production of $500,000 worth of goods everytime they reached this mark in production. While this created a temporary disruption of work, sometimes as often as three times a day, overall production soared.{7}

It is apparent to me that arguments for the uses and value of humor could fill volumes. I would like to conclude with some of my own personal observations. If I had even a penny for the times I have been able to laugh in the face of conflict, adversity, and pain I would be extremely wealthy in monetary terms. As it is, no amount of money can match the treasure I possess in my ability to laugh. I might add that while laughter can ease physical and emotional pain, laughing is just plain fun and brings great joy to my life. I have often been accused of being a very silly person. To that I say, "Thank you! And thank God, or whoever gave me such a precious gift." I try to never leave home without it. The beauty of humor is that if it is lost or misplaced, it can be created in the time it takes to smile.   So   " don't worry—be happy ! "


Footnotes

    1. Reader's Digest. — Blatantly stolen title.

    2. John-Roger and Peter McWilliams. Life 101 p. 335.

    3. Norman Cousins. Anatomy of an Illness As Perceived by the Patient p. 39.

    4. Dr. Laurence J. Peter. The Laughter Prescription p. 7.

    5. Robert A. Heinlein. Stranger In A Strange Land pp. 299 – 300.

    6. Dr. Laurence J. Peter. The Laughter Prescription p. 71.

    7. Charles A. Jaffe. Management By Fun, Nation's Business, Jan. 1990.


Feebee A. Clown's Birth Announcement.

Member of Kanas Ringleader Clown Alley
and C.O.A.I. Feebee A. Clown's Birth Announcement.

Member of Kanas Ringleader Clown Alley
and C.O.A.I.

Feebee A. Clown in Person.

Former Member of Kanas Ringleader Clown Alley
and C.O.A.I.

Feebee A. Clown

E-mail

 
 

Rats Tickled with new Rodent Laughter Research

Winona Daily News — Monday, May 4, 1998


Associated Press

BOWLING GREEN, Ohio — Rats just want to have fun. The fact that rats can laugh, and do, is nothing new to scientists, but a researcher at Bowling Green State University found that the rodents most people consider filthy pests are also playful and love to be ticlded.

"About a year ago, I literally came into the lab one morning and said, 'Let's go tickle some rats,"' said Jaak Panksepp, a psychobiologist. "As soon as we did it, it was 'Eureka!' This vocalization came on right away, and more intense than before. And the data have literally been flowing ever since."

A graduate student came up with the idea of recording the giggling rats by using "bat detectors," sophisticated instruments that register high-pitched sounds humans cannot hear.

"Lo and behold ... it sounded like a playground," Panksepp said, adding that keeping rats laughing isn't difficult.

"It's quite easy. They're small, of course, but it's really no different than running your fingers as if you're tickling a child," he said. "You get the most laughter at the nape of the neck, where they direct each other's play behavior."

Rats register their gratitude with little nips.


It Wasn't Funny, but Test Had Patient Laughing

Star Tribune – Wednesday, March 18, 1998

Health Notebook
by Gordon Slovut


New York Times

Life, it seems, imitates humor as well as art.

Back in the 1930s, humorist Robert Benchley, who poked fun at scientists and academics who took themselves too seriously, wrote a mock analysis, "Why We Laugh – Or Do We?"

In a footnote, he wrote "Schwanzleben, in his work 'Humor After Death,' hits on this point indirectly when he says, 'All laughter is a muscular rigidity spasmodically relieved by involuntary twitching. It can be induced by the application of electricity as well as by a socalled joke.' "

Little did Benchley know that someday the imaginary Schwanzleben would turn out to be very nearly right.

In a recent article in the journal Nature, Dr. Itzhak Fried and colleagues at the University of California, Los Angeles, wrote that stand-up comics, sitcom script writers and even amateur jokesmiths must now confront the fact that scientists can make people laugh – and even invent a plausible reason for laughing - merely by delivering a tiny electrical shock to the right spot of the brain.

While searching for the possible causes of a 16-year-old girl's epileptic seizures, the UCIA team found that an electrode touching a tiny patch of brain in the "supplementary motor area" of her left front lobe made her laugh.

There was nothing forced or artificial about it. Amazingly, the girl said she perceived genuine humor in her mundane surroundings. At one point she told the researchers, "You guys are just so funny   standing around." Her reaction, they wrote, "suggests a close link between the motor, affective and cognitive components of laughter."

The UCLA team also discovered that "the duration and intensity of laughter increased with the level of stimulation current," they reported. "At low currents, only a smile was present, while at higher currents a robust contagious laughter was induced."

— Questions, comments? Call Star Tribune medical writer Gordon Slovut at 673–9083. Please leave your name and phone number.


Entrepreneur Discovers Humor Helps with Cancer

Star Tribune – Sunday, April 12,1998

Small Business
by Dick Youngblood


There were a couple of portentous events that triggered Chris Clifford's extraordinary response to her bout with breast cancer three years ago.

One was the clinical depression that had gripped her mother, who died of cancer at age 42.

"When she was diagnosed, she withdrew to her bedroom and never came out again" in the three years before she died, said Clifford, 44. For her and her three siblings, "it was depressing beyond comprehension."

And it left Clifford, following her own cancer diagnosis in December 1994, determined to "celebrate life for as long as it lasts" with her husband, John, and sons, Tim and Brooks.

The other event occurred shortly before she was to begin cancer treatments, when several friends came up with the inspired notion of throwing her a "chemotherapy shower."

"For a while everyone was ill at ease, not knowing what to say or how to act," said Clifford, who at the time was recovering from what appears to have been a successful lumpectomy. Then someone offered her a cigarette, and her response not only broke the party ice, but inspired a thriving cottage industry.

"Gee, no thanks, I already have cancer," she said to an explosion of laughter.

That's when it hit Clifford, a workaholic senior executive of a large marketing firm, that "there has to be a market out there for products that offer humor and support" to cancer victims and their loved ones.

The Cancer Club

Although it took several months of planning to get things going, that party was the birth of The Cancer Club, a home-based Edina business that offers victims of cancer a variety of what Clifford calls "humorous and helpful products."

There's a video that tells women what to expect following surgery and outlines an exercise regimen that helps them regain normal use of their arms.

There are soft-cover books that tell the story of Clifford's illness in prose and in cartoons depicting humorous moments during her battle with cancer.

And there are audio tapes of the motivational speeches she's been giving around the country, plus a newsletter with 5,000 subscribers and a computer program that helps people find laughter in their own lives.

Throw in some gold "Attitude" pins sold in pop-up jewelry boxes designed to look like hats, include some T-shirts and coffee mugs bearing the "Cancer Club" name and its logo of a bald-headed woman, and you've got a business that generated revenues of more than $165,000 in 1997.

More surprising, that revenue level was reached despite the fact that Clifford continued working full time as a senior officer of Spar Marketing Services in Bloomington until July.

Compared with her career at Spar, a company that provides in-store support services to the packaged goods industry, that might look like pretty small spuds. After all, just before her cancer was diagnosed, Clifford had signed Procter & Gamble to a $21 million contract.

Business of humor

But she figures The Cancer Club still has a ways to go: "I really think therapeutic humor can be a very big business, " Clifford said.

She might be right. Her first book, "Not Now ... I'm Having a No Hair Day," has sold 30,000 copies in bookstores and to hospitals and clinics since it was published in mid–1996.

The book, which chronicles her illness and recovery is decorated with 60 cartoons drawn by illustrator Jack Lindstrom, who produces the syndicated "Executive Suite" strip. All the drawings are based on actual events — including the cigarette yarn cited above — and they can leave you wondering whether to laugh or cry.

There's son Tim, then 11 years old, asking: "Mom, when can I stop worrying?"

And his brother, Brooks, then 8, greeting the delivery man at the door and shouting out, "Mom ... more flowers for your breast."

And the relative who explodes in indignation: "You're writing a humorous book about cancer? You're sick!"

There are some unexpected triumphs as well: Consider, for example, the traffic cop who stopped to give her a ticket and wound up giving her an escort after she explained, "Look, I've just finished chemotherapy and I was speeding home to get sick."

Late last year, Clifford published another cartoon book, this one for children, entitled "Our Family Has Cancer Too." That one has sold about 3,000 copies, mostly to support groups, hospitals and clinics.

Despite the comparatively brisk book sales, however, the largest part of the business so far has been the exercise videos. Some 20,000 have been sold to pharmaceuticals giant Schering-Plough Corp., to be distributed with a drug used treat breast-cancer patients.

But that could change. A favorable review of her audio tapes in the January issue of the Library Journal has generated 10 to 15 orders a day at prices ranging from $9.95 to $12.95.

And interest is growing in a new computer program, called SMILE, which allows a user to fill out a questionnaire designed to assess one's sense of humor, then offers a "laughter prescription" that includes recommendations, for books, movies and activities that might lighten the mood.

More important, having freed herself of full-time employment outside her business, Clifford already has booked 40 speaking engagements that promise to generate nearly $120,000 in 1998 revenues, compared with 20 engagements that brought in about $52,000 in all of 1997.

The upshot: The Cancer Club's revenues in the first quarter of '98 were up 27 percent from the fourth quarter, to more than $50,000. If she can maintain that growth rate — and she figures she can, given the jump in speaking engagements — then revenues this year would top $210,000.

Whatever the total, Clifford figures she's made enough to start giving something back: Since starting The Cancer Club, she's contributed about $20,000 to nonprofit, cancer-related causes. And this fall she's sponsoring the Christine Clifford Celebrity Golf Invitational at the Minikahda Country Club to benefit the Cancer Society.


Mental Attitude and Self Image

By Gus J. Prosch, Jr., M.D.
 

With a good positive mental attitude, you will ...

Look Better, Feel Better, and Heal Better.

 
Our libraries are full of all types of books that will help you develop a better positive mental attitude. God tells us, "As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he," Proverbs 23:7. I have rephrased this proverb to make it a little easier to us to understand: "We become what we think about." Because of this, we need to try to force ourselves to think good positive, goal-oriented thoughts at all times. By doing this, because we truly become what we think about, we will soon find ourselves actually becoming whatever these thoughts are that we have been forcing ourselves to continually think about. You may want to get my tape recording entitled, Remove the Fat Between Your Ears, which will give some real detailed instructions on how you can get some real direction in your life. I have explained in this recording a simple technique that will force you to think positive about everything you do. I have seen this technique actually change people's lives around 100%, and it has done so for me on several occasions.

The truth is that every circumstance of your life can be looked upon from a positive or negative viewpoint — it's entirely up to you. Dr. Robert Schuller gave an excellent example of this in the following story. He said:

"One of my favorite stories is the classic story of the Chinese who had one horse and one son. One day his horse broke out of the corral and fled to the freedom of the hills. The neighbors came around that night and chattered. "Your horse got out? What bad luck!"

"Why?" the old Chinese said. "How do you know it's bad luck?" Sure enough, the next night the horse came back to his familiar corral for his usual feeding and watering, leading twelve wild stallions with him. The farmer's son saw the 13 horses in the corral, slipped out and locked the gate. Suddenly, he had 13 horses instead of none.

"The neighbors heard the good news and came chattering to the farmer. "Oh, you have 13 horses. What good luck!"

"The old Chinese answered, "How do you know that's good luck?" Some days later, his strong young son was trying to break one of the wild stallions, only to be thrown off and his leg broken. The neighbors came back that night and passed another hasty judgment. "Your son broke his leg? What bad luck". "And the wise farmer answered again, "How do you know it's bad luck?'

"Sure enough, a few days later, a 'Chinese War Lord' came through town and conscripted every able–bodied young man, taking them off to war, never to return again. But the young man was saved because of his broken leg. Only God knows what's good for us and what's bad for us."

Another important factor is for you to try to always feel good about yourself and have a positive self-image. Do you have basically positive feelings or basically negative feelings about the person you see in the mirror? Do you love yourself or hate yourself? King Solomon put it this way: "A joyful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit dries up the bones" (Proverbs 17:22). Without a positive self-image, you will not properly digest and assimilate your food or the nutrients in your food. If this happens, the foods can become toxic within your intestine and a negative self-image, as well as other emotional and spiritual stresses interferes with our digestive system from functioning property. Some researchers are convinced that the colon (large intestine) is a manifester of the emotions. So much so that a wise doctor in Philadelphia some years ago remarked that "the colon is the mirror of the mind and when the mind gets tight, the colon gets tight." On the other hand, positive feelings toward yourself relaxes the intestines, stimulating the proper functioning which will give you the best possible digestion and nutrition.

It is also believed by most authorities that when you have relationships that are not good with other people, they usually result from a negative self-image. If we don't get along with ourselves, we tend not to get along with others. Other people tend to react to the negative image that we project. Negative relationships affect our bodies just like a negative self-image. For these reasons, we should all strive to develop a good positive mental attitude at all times and to keep a good self image concerning ourselves. I've seen so many people who live their lives according to what other people may think about them. Frankly, this is a rather stupid attitude, because when the real facts are known, most of the people you meet do not care that much about you or what you are or what you think unless it affects their own pocketbook. The important thing is to be genuinly yourself, and we all know what we really are inside because we cannot fool ourselves. So don't live your life according to what you think people may think about you, but live your life in truth and be genuine to yourself then, you will always maintain a good positive self-image about yourself.

Stress and Stress Management

Many human illnesses are directly related to stress, isolation, emotions, pressures from society and the negative effects of the social, political and industrial choices we are required to make each day. Stress therefore affects us physically, mentally, emotionally, and influences all our behaviors. Stress may be defined as a demand for adaptation. It has been shown, however, that we humans respond to demands not as they actually are, but as we perceive them to be. A stress may be real or imagined.

There are many types of stress we constantly face. These stress factors may be physical (exposure to the extremes of temperature, injuries, or accidents), chemical (exposure to pollutants, allergens, poisons, toxins, and drugs), microbiological (germs, bacteria, viruses, fungus, and other microorganisms), psychological or extreme emotional states (fear, anger, sadness, or a sense of loss), mental functioning (suppression or repression), as well as inborn drives to hurry, to succeed, to compete, as well as sociocultural (work pressures, crime, IRS, regulations, financial crisis and peer and parental pressure). Stress affects practically every organ in the body and if not controlled can certainly aggravate and complicate most any known disease or illness. The intention of this discussion is to summarize for you some suggestions on how you can better cope with stress and methods that have been proven to help relieve stress in your life. These methods help you reduce stress, relax better, and enjoy life more.

Stress is the response of your mind, emotions and body to whatever demands are being made on you. So the important thing is that it's not so much what happens to you that determines the effect on stress upon your body, but the way that you respond to it. The ideal response is a relaxed, carefree and positive thinking reaction. This in itself will prevent many problems when you are faced with stressful situations. And don't forget, there are two kinds of stress, positive and negative. Positive stress is happy, desirable, controllable, easy-going good stress like being informed that you've just had an increase in salary. Negative stress, however, is maddening, sad, disturbing, uncontrollable and depressing like having an argument or being in an accident or losing a loved one. This is the worst type of stress you can have, and if you can learn to face it in a relaxed, carefree, positive thinking manner, it will not cause nearly the harm to your system as to the average person.

  • Develop a positive attitude about everything you do.

    The Bible tells us, "As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he." We become what we think about. If we constantly think about negative, bad problems and thoughts, we are simply going to create more of these bad situations to face from now on. The Public Library is full of books that will show you how to think positively.

  • Tell yourself to relax totally.

    By simply sitting down and taking some deep abdominal breaths and closing your eyes, try to relax all over. Sit in a comfortable chair and tell yourself that you are totally relaxing as you visualize in your mind - your feet relaxing, then your lower legs relaxing, then your upper legs, then your pelvis, then your stomach, then your chest and your hands, and your lower arms, your upper arms, your neck, and your head. Then, visualize yourself in your mind's eye as being totally relaxed. A few minutes of this will do wonders to relieve stress in your entire system.

  • Practice breathing exercises to relax.

    You should use abdominal breathing to relax totally. Sit in a very relaxed position in a comfortable chair with your hands on the arms of the chair and your feet on the floor. Breathe in slowly through your nose as you expand your abdomen and imagine that you have a balloon inside your abdomen, and, as you inhale, you are slowly inflating the balloon, which will cause your abdominal area to swell. Then, breathe out slowly through your nose. Pull your abdominal muscles in as you press all of the air out of your lungs. You should take several breaths in this manner, and it will help relax you. Another variation of this type of exercise is to use abdominal breathing as you inhale deeply through your nose. Then, exhale through your puckered mouth as if you were blowing out a candle. Repeat this several times.

  • Cultivate a good sense of humor.

    Laughing always relieves stress. If you know yourself, you know what things make you laugh. If you would try to do these things more often, this will help you relieve stress. Remind yourself to have fun. This may mean going to a comedy movie or picking up a book of funny jokes to read to get you laughing. You may even consider keeping a laugh scrapbook where you can keep a record of all letters, funny jokes, poems, limericks, or anything you have collected that made you laugh. Read through these in times of severe stress.

  • Listening to relaxing music will dissolve your tension.

    Listening to your favorite music is an excellent way to relieve stress. Instrumental music like that performed by the harp, piano, string ensembles, or the flute tend to be more soothing than vocal pieces which may distract you. While enjoying the relaxing music, you will notice that you are breathing more slowly and deeply which means you are relaxing more.

  • Call a relative or friend.

    When hit with any type of stressful situation, an excellent technique is to call a close friend or family member and discuss the situation with them, which can help you get a clearer picture as to how you may solve any existing problem. Do not keep it pent up inside of you as it will build and grow within.

  • Exercise or take a brisk walk to lift your spirit.

    Any type of exercise and especially brisk walking will result in very effective stress reduction. The faster you walk, or the harder you exercise, the more your stress will be relieved. This is because certain neurotransmitters are released during the exercise process for about 20 minutes. Try not to think about your problems while you are walking or exercising.

  • Stretch or yawn for better relaxation

    Yawning itself is a very effective way to relieve stress.   If you yawn and try to stretch your muscles as far as you can, this will add effects to the stress relieving techniques. If you develop tension in your neck, shoulders and upper body, the simple shoulder shrug will help relax these muscles. Bring your shoulders up to your earlobes for three or four seconds, and then drop your shoulders down and think — shoulders up, shoulders down. Do this 3 or 4 times. Another simple exercise is "reaching for the sky." Try to push your arms upward and slightly backwards, and feel these muscles in your shoulders and upper back stretching. Hold this position for 10 to 15 seconds as you breathe normally. Stretching any muscles in your body will help you relax more.

  • Take a nature break.

    If there is any way you can get out in the country, or out in the woods to get away from your present problems, even for a short time, this can do wonders for your stressful situation. It may be that going to the river and just sitting and watching the clouds go by and admiring the scenery will be of benefit to you. Even watching a video or going to a movie involving the great outdoors can be very relaxing.

  • Take a vacation or a weekender.

    Getting away from your stressful environment is always relaxing. However, you should try not to feel guilty about not working when you "get away from it all". When you do this, you should relax mentally, physically, and emotionally and learn to let everything go. Tell yourself that it's okay not to work at times. The best form is a vacation that lasts for at least a week to get maximum benefits however.

  • Get proper rest.

    Sound sleep each night is a perfect antidote to stress. To do this, stick to a regular sleep schedule and try to begin relaxing about an hour before you go to bed. Don't eat a big meal before going to bed, and be sure that you sleep in a very comfortable environment. Also, taking a 15-minute nap in the afternoon if you can arrange it, will be very stress relieving.

  • Prayer will break the anxiety cycle.

    Praying can strengthen your religious beliefs and provide you with strength during times of loss or hardship, which may include the death of a loved one, an injury or illness, or financial problems. Praying can teach forgiveness, patience and understanding and relieve some of the negative emotions like anger, bitterness, and hostility. This is an excellent stress reliever.

    Of course, there are other stress-relieving techniques such as getting a pet ( Excellent for Many ), but the important thing is to Do Something To Relieve the Existing Situation !

    —   Source   —


    A time comes in your life when you finally get it ... when, in the midst of all your fears and insanity, you stop dead in your tracks and somewhere the voice inside your head cries out ...

    ENOUGH!

    Enough fighting and crying and blaming and struggling to hold on. Then, like a child quieting down after a tantrum, you blink back your tears and begin to look at the world through new eyes.

    This is your awakening.

    You realize it's time to stop hoping and waiting for something to change, or for happiness, safety and security to magically appear over the next horizon.

    You realize that in the real world there aren't always fairy tale endings, and that any guarantee of "happily ever after" must begin with you ... and in the process a sense of serenity is born of acceptance. You approve of who or what you are ... and that's OK. They are entitled to their own views and opinions.

    You learn the importance of loving and championing yourself ... and in the process a sense of newfound confidence is born of self-approval.

    You stop complaining and blaming other people for the things they did to you – or didn't do for you – and you learn that the only thing you can really count on is the unexpected.

    You learn that people don't always say what they mean or mean what they say and that not everyone will always be there for you and that everything isn't always about you. So, you learn to stand on your own and to take care of yourself ... and in the process a sense of safety and security is born of self-reliance.

    You stop judging and pointing fingers and you begin to accept people as they are and to overlook their shortcomings and human frailties ... and in the process a sense of peace and contentment is born of forgiveness.

    You learn to open up to new worlds and different points of view.

    You Begin reassessing and redefining who you are and what you really stand for.

    You learn the difference between wanting and needing and you begin to discard the doctrines and values you've outgrown, or should never have bought into to begin with.

    You learn that there is power and glory in creating and contributing and you stop maneuvering through life merely as a "consumer" looking for your next fix.

    You learn that principles such as honesty and integrity are not the outdated ideals of a bygone era, but the mortar that holds together the foundation upon which you must build a life.

    You learn that you don't know everything, it's not your job to save the world and that you can't teach a pig to sing.

    You learn that the only cross to bear is the one you choose to carry and that martyrs get burned at the stake.

    Then you learn about love.

    You learn to look at relationships as they really are and not as you would have them be.

    You learn that alone does not mean lonely. You stop trying to control people, situations and outcomes.

    You learn to distinguish between guilt and responsibility and the importance of setting boundaries and learning to say NO.

    You also stop working so hard at putting your feelings aside, smoothing things over and ignoring your needs.

    You learn that your body really is your temple. You begin to care for it and treat it with respect. You begin to eat a balanced diet, drink more water, and take more time to exercise.

    You learn that being tired fuels doubt, fear, and uncertainty and so you take more time to rest. And, just as food fuels the body, laughter fuels our soul. So you take more time to laugh and to play.

    You learn that, for the most part, you get in life what you believe you deserve, and that much of life truly is a self-fulfilling prophecy.

    You learn that anything worth achieving is worth working for and that wishing for something to happen is different than working toward making it happen. More importantly, you learn that in order to achieve success you need direction, discipline and perseverance.

    You also learn that no one can do it all alone, and that it's OK to risk asking for help.

    You learn the only thing you must truly fear is fear itself.

    You learn to step right into and through your fears because you know that whatever happens you can handle it and to give in to fear is to give away the right to live life on your own terms.

    You learn to fight for your life and not to squander it living under a cloud of impending doom.

    You learn that life isn't always fair, you don't always get what you think you deserve and that sometimes bad things happen to unsuspecting, good people ... and you learn not to always take it personally.

    You learn that nobody's punishing you and everything isn't always somebody's fault. It's just life happening.

    You learn to admit when you are wrong and to build bridges instead of walls.

    You learn that negative feelings such as anger, envy and resentment must be understood and redirected or they will suffocate the life out of you and poison the universe that surrounds you.

    You learn to be thankful and to take comfort in many of the simple things we take for granted, things that millions of people upon the earth can only dream about: a full refrigerator, clean running water, a soft warm bed, a long hot shower.

    Then, you begin to take responsibility for yourself by yourself and you make yourself a promise to never betray yourself and to never, ever settle for less than your heart's desire.

    You make it a point to keep smiling, to keep trusting, and to stay open to every wonderful possibility.

    You hang a wind chime outside your window so you can listen to the wind.

    Finally, with courage in your heart, you take a stand, you take a deep breath, and you begin to design the life you want to live as best you can.


    BREATHE in and BREATHE out LIGHT and LOVE daily.

    ALL IS WELL.

    Author unknown


     
    
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