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Opinion - Opinion
Laugh a day, keep Dr. awayTell North Platte what you think

We all need humor and play in our lives. It helps us to relax and sometimes make it over that next “hurdle.”

Laughter is a powerful antidote to stress, pain, and conflict. Nothing works faster or more dependably to bring your mind and body back into balance than a good laugh. Humor lightens your burdens, inspires hopes, connects you to others, and keeps you grounded, focused, and alert.

This sometimes is especially true as the holiday season approaches.

While the holidays are fun and exciting they can also lead to added stress from financial situations, running to the next holiday party and all the family celebrations.

During this time is when we especially need to remember to laugh and find the humor in life. It connects us, lightens our burdens and keeps things in perspective. A hearty laugh makes us feel good, even after the laughter stops. Humor helps relieve stress. It reduces tension and makes us more relaxed.

• Learn to laugh at yourself. Humor reminds us it's ok to be human. Laughter keeps us from taking ourselves too seriously. If we can live with and laugh at our own flaws, we can reduce the stress of not always meeting our own expectations.

• Laugh together. Nothing in this world is perfect. Neither are co-workers, family or friends. Sharing the humor that often comes from imperfections binds us closer together, instead of separating us.

• Use humor wisely. Let humor help you share openly and talk about feelings and problems, but don't let it prevent you from dealing with important issues in your life. Don't use humor to embarrass or hurt people.

• Add humor to your everyday life. Take a humor break each day. Read jokes, listen to a funny tape, rent funny videos or watch TV comedies. For a short humor break get online, find an app to send you a joke of the day or a fun quote to brighten the day.

If you hear a joke you like, write it down or tell it to someone else. Start looking for the silly or funny things that go on around you.

With so much power to heal and renew, the ability to laugh easily and frequently is a tremendous resource for surmounting problems, enhancing your relationships, and supporting both physical and emotional health.

For more information the benefits of laughter go to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension website: http://www.ianrpubs.unl.edu/pages/publicationD.jsp?publicationId=568 or http://lancaster.unl.edu/family/

Kimberly Cook is the UNL Extension Educator for Chase, Dundy, Hayes & Hitchcock counties.

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The North Platte Bulletin - Published 10/21/2013
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