Thanksgiving through New Years can be a tricky time of year for many of us. Emotions run wild. We’re expected to be all frolic and jolly. Family everywhere, yikes! Diets, healthy eating and exercise plans are shot to hell. SADS is at full tilt. Comfortable daily routine is ruined for six weeks. It’s no wonder we are frustrated, overwhelmed with anxiety and a dark blue mood. Can anything be done with this mess?
I say, YES! Start laughing. Laugh everyday from now until New Years. Laughter has been scientifically proven to improve mood. Laughter is strong medicine for mind and body
‘Your sense of humor is one of the most powerful tools you have to make certain that your daily mood and emotional state support good health.’ ~ Paul E. McGhee, Ph.D.
We’ve all heard the negative rants, holiday slurs, and anti-christmas jokes expressing the most dreaded and unavoidable time of year. Some are very funny. Perhaps dark funny, but funny, (or not) nonetheless. Sometimes humor is the best way to deal with our struggles and woes. Here goes…
1- I’d rather suck air through a straw for six weeks than deal with the bullshit of the holidays. At least I’d lose weight. 2 – I’m going to sleep now. Would someone mind waking me up on Jan 2? 3 – The Proverbial Get Fatter & More Depressed By The Day Slide 4 – I cannot, will not look at these people for six long weeks. I just can’t do it! Help me! 5 – Christmas Abyss: Dark & Ugly 6 – My mind, body and soul has it’s own revolution this time of year. I don’t need everyone else’s drama! 7 – Out of control, Out of touch, Out of my mind. This is not good for me! 8 – It will all be over soon. 9- Keep the Egg Nog, Peppermint Schnapps and everything else in the liquor cabinet coming! 10 - Holiday Hell x 10 – I only want the presents 11 – Going On a Life Strike: I refuse to participate until after Jan 1. 12 – Santa and all his little elves can kiss my ass.
According to Natalie Staats Reiss, Ph.D.; Laughing each day helps keep the doctor away. Psychological research suggests that there is a relationship between laughter and well-being. Read on…
Humorous stimuli cause laughter, and laughter causes physiological changes (in our bodies) that can affect well-being. Laughter temporarily increases heart rate, blood pressure, circulation, immune system activity, and alertness while exercising the skeletal muscles. After you stop laughing, your blood pressure, heart rate, muscle activity, and rate of breathing temporarily slows down, resulting in a sense of relaxation.
In addition, to physiological changes, laughter can cause psychological changes. Laughter provides tension release, cognitive stimulation and distraction from anxiety, worry, and/or pain. Laughing in response to humorous stimuli may help our brains get better at filtering out sad or depressing information, and filtering in other information that is funny. Laughing may also put us in a frame of mind to interpret our situations and ourselves more positively. This re-interpretation can then lead to a increased sense of control and coping, and can help us remain in or deal better with stressful situations. We may also feel better simply from knowing and believing that laughter and humor are beneficial.
Laughter can have positive long-term effects such as enhanced mood, increased cardiovascular health, increased pain tolerance, reduced blood sugar levels (increasing glucose tolerance in diabetics and nondiabetics alike), improved job performance (especially if your work depends on creativity and solving complex problems), and enhanced interpersonal relationships. However, this ability to shape well-being is influenced by individual characteristics such as having a sense of humor (ability to find things funny); our skill in adapting the filtering style described above; and our personalities. The environment (how stressful, what type of stress), and the stimulus itself (what type of humor, how easy it is to understand, whether we think it is funny) are also important.
The take home message? Try to laugh a few times each day. Make a to-do list of funny movies, u tube videos and books. Read or watch something funny everyday and try to take yourself and your situation less seriously. Here are a few very funny suggestions:
Go see the new movie, Silver Linings PlayBook. Bradley Cooper, Robert Di Nero, Jennifer Lawrence are terrific. I loved it! Lots of good laughs.
Saturday Night Live’s hilarious Best Christmas Holiday sketches for a great belly laugh. Nothing like a good long laughing attack to clear out the blues!
You Better Not Cry: Stories for Christmas by Augusten Burroughs
You’ve eaten too much candy at Christmas…but have you ever eaten the face off a six-footstuffed Santa? You’ve seen gingerbread houses…but have you ever made your own gingerbread tenement? You’ve woken up with a hangover…but have you ever woken up next to Kris Kringle himself? Augusten Burroughs has, and in this caustically funny, nostalgic, poignant, and moving collection he recounts Christmases past and present—as only he could. With gimleteyed wit and illuminated prose, Augusten shows how the holidays bring out the worst in us and sometimes, just sometimes, the very, very best…
I’m sure one or two of these riotous movies will bring you to tears of laughter. When I need a good laugh or want to watch a really funny movie, I call my daughter Sam – she’s hysterical all by herself. We laugh so hard together we pee our pants or get kicked out of the theater. Everyone one around us eventually becomes hysterical once they get over being annoyed by us. Laughter is contagious! Find your favorite peeps to laugh with and have at it!
Enjoy & try to have a good time! Love Allison