Laughter: Enemy of Stress

Everyday problems, like work pressure and family responsibilities, can get us down and cause unnecessary stress. Stress isn’t always a big deal. But chronic stress can lead to serious medical conditions such as high blood pressure or heart attack.

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Many studies have suggested that a good laugh may be the key to decreasing elevated stress levels. Apart from improving your emotional wellbeing, a giggle here and there can have a great impact on your mental and physical health. Laughter increases your breathing rate, increasing your intake of oxygen, which stimulates parts of your body like your heart, lungs and muscles. Laughter also releases endorphins—responsible for pleasure and euphoria—into your brain. We all know that laughter is contagious. But more importantly, it induces a state of relaxation while reducing your stress and tension. Here are a few tips to help you laugh off that stress!

Try laughter therapy!

You can try it at home yourself or with a group of family and friends. There are many classes for laughter therapy available, so find the one that works for you and make it a part of your schedule.

Include humour in your everyday life!

Take the time to read those jokes that your friends forward you or watch a funny video on your Facebook newsfeed! Don’t shy away from laughing! There’s something funny for everyone!

Socialize!

Spend time with your most lighthearted friends and share some fun memories from the past. Laughter is contagious and spending time with people who make you smile is one of the best things you could do for yourself. Spending time with kids can also do the trick; they are experts at being silly making people laugh!

 

Laugh at yourself!

Learning to laugh at ourselves is also really important. Don’t take yourself too seriously! Make other people laugh then join in on the laughter at your own jokes. This can be an amazing way of cheering yourself up and maybe even give your confidence a boost!

It is often said that laughter is the best medicine. Maybe in time we’ll start believing it. There is nothing as simple and as natural as laughter when it comes to reducing stress. So, keep smiling!

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Social Connectedness and Its Impact on Diet

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Posted by Trista Chan

There’s no question that building and nurturing relationships can bring joy and overall feelings of happiness.  What many overlook is that it can also promote better physical health, a lower chance of developing mental illnesses, and increased job opportunities.

Research has shown that belonging to a social group and being socially connected with others can change your health in terms of diet and exercise. The idea of eating as a form of socializing is not groundbreaking, but many overlook the fact that who you eat with has a significant impact on the types of food you eat, and your overall diet.  Food and social interaction are deeply embedded in us from birth, and without realizing it, our bodies and minds change our diet based on the people around us.  For example, Females tend to eat less calories when they are with men as opposed to women, and both males and females have been known to eat less when they are in front of a stranger.  As a generalization, people tend to mirror their eating partners’ portions, and eat more when in larger groups!

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The big question in all of this is, why? Why do our eating habits change based on who we are with and the social relationship we have with them? There are a number of reasons, and the first is our cultural attitude. In Western society, women are expected to consume less, and its ingrained from a young age.  Thus, they may subconsciously eat less in front of people they want to impress, and similarly, men may eat more in front of friends that they want to impress.

In conclusion, our relationships and the people that we spend the most time with definitely have an impact on the food choices we make and directly correspond with our overall wellbeing. So, whether you are single, married, or trying to impress someone, make sure to pay attention to how much you are eating. Take a moment to think about your surroundings and what exactly you’re about to eat, to not get swept up in the social aspects of the meal. Because why you may be heavily influenced by your surroundings, you are also able to control your own behaviours when it comes to diet and wellbeing.

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Connecting Authentically to Improve Relationships

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Posted by Abena Osei-Kwabena
Do you experience that nervous jittery feeling when talking to new people? Do you find that holding a conversation with strangers at casual events is as challenging as mountain climbing? Well, socializing doesn’t come naturally to all, but it is certainly an important skill that will serve you your whole life. Socializing has a wealth of benefits which directly impact our happiness as well as existence.
Getting out there and talking to people doesn’t have to be difficult. Being more social and making new friends can be easy, all you need to do is have the will to change yourself from being the odd one out to a social and outgoing person.The following tips can help you let go of your shyness and connect authentically with people:


Initiate
 

Striking up a conversation might be the most challenging step, but taking the first step yourself can give you an opportunity to meet a lot of new people. Take matters into your own hands and introduce yourself. Compliments can serve as a great ice breaker and help you start off a conversation. 

Be Dynamic

Being rigid and standing in one spot is a common mistake that prevents people from socializing effectively. Move around with confidence and try to be more approachable. Keeping your head up and acknowledging people around you with a smile or a greeting, puts others at ease and also makes them more receptive when you approach them.

Listen

Everybody likes to talk about themselves. Therefore, practicing good listening skills is just as important as expressing yourself. It will help you appear accepting and gain other people’s confidence. Listening also allows you to learn more about others, which ultimately will aid you in establishing common interests and forming a bond.

Practice

They say that experience is the best teacher. So, go out, meet new people, interact and learn from your experiences to improve your conversational skills for the future!


Abena is a Client Services Associate at Optimity. She graduated from the University of Toronto with a BSc in Global Health. She is passionate about human rights and health education, and hopes to develop tailored interventions to combat health inequities around the globe. Her interests include story writing, camping and exploring different cultures on her travels.

 

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Topics: proactive, socializing, social, positivity