Contagious Laughter
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Anatomy of Illness written by Norman Cousins, is a book based on the true story of how this man treated his own painful illness. Cousins had a theory that there was more to the old saying, Laughter is the best medicine, than many people realize.

In modern times society has come to understand that stress has a negative impact on both physical and mental health. What is not as commonly understood is that laughter has many positive health benefits, which can counteract the negative effects of the stress response.

Laughter increases the functioning of the immune system, helping the body to fight off illness and disease. Studies have demonstrated that laughter causes the increased production of catecholamine and endorphins. These chemicals, when released by the brain into the blood stream during laughter, increase feelings of happiness and well-being.

Laughter also decreases the secretion of cortisol as well as the sedimentation rate, and therefore is beneficial in stimulating the body’s immune system.  

During laughter, the flow of Oxygen in the blood increases. Arteries relax, heart rate and blood temperature are lowered, circulation increases and the skin temperature rises. All of these physical responses have a beneficial effect on both cardiovascular and respiratory health.

Laughter has the potential to help speed healing and increase overall health and well-being, when it’s benefits are fully realized as a part of a stress management plan.

While the average human being laughs approximately 8 to 10 times daily, a stress management plan which includes laughter as a part of the daily program would include rigorous “laughing” as an exercise to be performed several times throughout the day.  

Full belly laughter, which is an involuntary response of the human brain, can be triggered by watching comedies, listening to comedians, telling jokes or just allowing oneself to participate in fun and silly activities.

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Stress Reduction Kit
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     Remember the first time you saw your first-born child?  You might have been amazed at her eyes, or mesmerized by the perfection of his hands.  You might have dutifully recorded the first smile, the first laughs, the first steps, the first dance.  He or she became the most important individual in your life.  When that little person came into your world, you knew that your life had changed forever.

        There is nothing quite like the joy of parenthood.  It can lift your spirits on the most miserable day.  It gives you a reason to rise in the morning, and a good excuse for blowing bubbles, catching fireflies, or gazing at a fireworks display.  When you give your child a hug at night, you know that all is right with the universe.

          However, parenthood can also be quite stressful.  There are so many demands on your time, so many commitments you need to fulfill.  Your responsibilities can leave you feeling anxious and frustrated.  If your child is sick, or is having trouble in school, or has become involved in drug or alcohol abuse, your stress level could rise to the max.

          Unfortunately, there is nothing you can do to eliminate the stressors associated with parenthood.  They simply come with the territory.  While you can guide your child, you cannot expect to control him or her, particularly when your child reaches the teenage years.  Therefore, you have to learn to somehow manage the stress of parenthood before it gets the better of you.

           The most important strategy you can adopt is to keep the communication going between yourself and your child, even when it becomes difficult.  Your stress level will be greatly reduced if you can talk with your child, especially when something is bothering him or her.  It is important for your child to know that your love is unconditional, and that he or she can turn to you at any time of the day or night.  Strengthening the bond of trust can do a great deal to eliminate your stress.

           Another stress-reducing tact you can take is to set aside time to spend with your child—other than helping him or her with homework.  This is particularly important if you have more than one child.  You need some fun time with your child—to let him or her know that you care.  Plan for an afternoon of rollerskating or an evening playing checkers.  You’ll find that such relaxing activities can help to alleviate your stress.

          Also, it is important that you build into your day a break in the action.  Have your husband or wife watch the children for ten minutes while you re-group.  This is particularly important if you find yourself under so much stress that you are about to lose your temper.  Give yourself a timeout—and watch your stress level drop considerably.

         Mention needs to be made about the special stress that single parents feel.  Theirs is a difficult lot and the pressures can be intense.  That is why it is so critically important for single parents to strengthen their support systems.  They need to have a parent, brother or sister, or friend they can rely on when the stress of parenting becomes overwhelming.  Just having someone to talk to can be a tremendous stress-reliever.  In other cases, a single parent might need someone to watch his or her children for the night so that the parent can re-group.  Asking for help is not a sign of weakness—it is indicative of great emotional strength.  If you find yourself falling apart, don’t wait for a crisis to get some assistance.  If you turn to others for support, you will find that your family unit will only grow stronger.  

          Parenting is perhaps the single greatest responsibility a person can hold.  As a result, there is a tremendous amount of stress involved.  Recognizing that fact is an important part of the parenting process.  Once you are attuned to stress—and the causes of it—you are more likely to be able to manage it well.   It is important also for you to recognize that stress management is an on-going process—that it doesn’t happen overnight.  However, with time, you can become a first-rate stress manager.

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The Head Ache
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Stress doesn’t only affect the mind; it can also have some adverse effect on your body if left unchecked. Even if we are mentally capable of doing all our tasks, there is a possibility that our body is not fit enough to cope with the burden you are subjecting it to. If you push it to the limit, then you will surely feel a breakdown that might disable you permanently.

We can never deny the fact that all of us have our limits. Like our minds, our body can only take so much until it falls apart. It is a common fact that we can do anything if we set our minds into it, but we need to realize that our body should be able to cope with what we want it to do.

Your Body And Stress

Stress affects us different depending on the state of our body. The most common ailment attributed to mental stress is headache or migraine, or even dizziness from time to time. We would also feel some minor cramps, aches and pains on our back, shoulder, or in different parts of our body when under the grip of stress.

There is also a possibility that stress can affect our body chemistry as well. Too much brain activity can lead to nausea, dizziness, diarrhea, or even constipation. There were even reports that stress is attributed to a bout of ulcer when a hyperactive body produced too much acid that can abrade the linings of your organs.

There is a chance that a person might need to go to the hospital or undergo a series of medication to remedy the problem. But if you don’t take the initiative to nip stress at the bud, then you will sure to experience the same thing all over again.

Stress And Your Behavior

A person under the grip of stress tends to act rash and outside their normal behavior. Depending on the level of stress a person is subjected to, they might have trouble sleeping or might affect their sleeping time altogether. You might no longer want to sleep in the evening since you tend to think more of your problems when you lie down in bed during the quiet of the night. Unconsciously, our bodies would slowly get sleepy during the day and remain active at night.

Stress can also affect the emotional state of the person. They will either go into depression and self-pity; or give in to their rage by venting it out on everyone they see. There were even cases that stress can drive a person berserk or permanently affect their state of mind if not properly addressed.

Stress Management 101 – Coping With Your Problems

The mind is where stress starts so it is up to you to take the necessary steps to teach your mind how to cope with your problems when they crop up. Determining the source of your stress is the first step to getting rid of it.

It is essential that a person undergoes stress management to help them relax even when they are swamped with problems. You can delve into your favorite hobby to divert your mind to help it relax. Watching movies and listening to your favorite songs is also a good idea on getting your stress level under control.

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