“Against the assault of laughter, nothing can stand.” Mark Twain

April is National Humor Month and so that got me to thinking about laughter. Perhaps you’ve heard the famous quote from the poem Solitude by Ella Wheeler Wilcox, “Laugh and the whole world laughs with you”. It turns out there is scientific evidence to prove that true! Apparently, just like a yawn, laughter is contagious. According to a 2006 study at the University College of London the brain responds to the sound of laughter and preps the muscles in the face to join in the mirth.

It is a fact that laughter itself changes us physiologically. Like exercise, it boosts the heart rate and increases blood flow, so we breathe faster and more oxygen is delivered to the body’s tissues. Our facial muscles stretch. Research published in the International Journal of Obesity found just 15 minutes of laughter a day will burn 10-40 calories, depending on a person’s weight and the intensity of the laughter. That is enough to lose between 1–4 lbs a year. Furthermore, the mere act of smiling can alter your mood almost immediately. You can’t feel sad or angry when you’re laughing, right?

The benefits of laughter

  • Reduces Stress: When stressed, we produce a hormone called cortisol. Laughter can significantly reduce cortisol levels.
  • Helps Reduce Pain: Laughter causes us to produce endorphins, which are natural, pain-killing hormones.
  • Strengthens the Immune System: A hearty laugh decreases stress hormones and increases production of T-cells, immune proteins and infection-fighting antibodies.
  • Helps the Heart: When we laugh we increase blood flow and the function of blood vessels, which can help prevent cardiovascular problems.
  • Relaxes the Whole Body: One good belly laugh can relieve physical tension and relax your muscles for up to 45 minutes.
  • Helps You Recharge: By reducing stress levels and increasing your energy, laughter can help you focus and achieve more.
  • Improves Aging: Sharing laughs with others is related to higher self-esteem, lower levels of depression, anxiety, and perceived stress, and a more positive self-concept.


With all this good news, it just doesn’t seem right that we laugh less as we age. Young children are recorded laughing around 400 times a day. Adults are lucky to laugh 10 times a day! This helped create a mission for me. I challenged my husband to join me in attempting to laugh 400 times in one day. Quite honestly, after a while we lost count of the laughs. I posted on Facebook that we doing this and received jokes from friends. We found ourselves making humorous remarks about our day as it progressed. The more we did laugh, the more there seemed to be reasons to laugh.

Maybe it is my imagination, but somehow all that laughter made traffic lighter, in spite of the fact that this is Spring Break time in Florida! When the challenge was over, the laughter lingered. I did notice us becoming less tolerant of people and situations, so back to laughing we went. When stress tried to interfere with my mood, I forced a laugh. It seemed silly, so then a real laugh followed. Suddenly the stress was gone and I could deal with a particular situation clear headed.

I offer you the same challenge. Look around, what is funny? Do you have a good joke to share? Let your inner child out and have a few laughs. Turn the corners of your mouth up into a smile and then give a laugh, even if it feels a little forced. Notice if your muscles seem a bit more relaxed. Let the healing power of laughter be the gift you give yourself and others, you’ll be glad you did!

Laughter For Weight Loss

I have a program called Laugh It Off! It is a weight management program I created to assist my clients get rid of fat and the inflammation it causes. I noticed that some of my clients start to giggle during the beginning of a trance. It is never offensive and always they go deep. So, I had to figure out a way to use it. Well, we now use it to lose it! There are laughter assignments between sessions and plenty to laugh about during. Funny thing (see what I did there) is that it works! So whether you knew it before or not, weight loss is a laughing matter.


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What qualities would you like to be remembered for?

Loving, friendly, creative, steadfastness, warm-heartedness, reliability, humor … what is it for you? Practice those qualities now. 

  • Monitor your thoughts and be compassionate with yourself. 
  • Take time each day to feel the gratitude for simple pleasures in life. 
  • Breathe deeply. (Just by practicing deep focused, breathing for 2 minutes daily you will discover your body becomes used to responding in a calmer, more focused manner.)
  • Exercise daily, it is as good for your head as it is for your body.
  • Turn off the television, internet or anything else that prevents you from getting good rest at night.
  • Eat healthy foods, taking time to enjoy the taste, smells and textures of each bite.
  • Eliminate clutter, it sticks in your head and to your butt!
  • Forget guilt, it is an after the fact, unnecessary emotion.
  • Find a reason to smile and laugh.
  • Find and follow your Spiritual path.

You can evolve into who you aspire to be.  What you practice is what younger generations will learn. So, what will your legacy be?

While wandering through the Blogoshere a while back, I happened upon a blog named Henson’s Hell. The humor caught my eye as I do love to laugh and believe so much in the healing power of laughter. Furthermore, the author Henson Ray tells of his misadventures in a sleepy little town called Plainfield N.J. The place of my birth! OK, I was hooked.

Henson creates adorable videos. Today, he has gifted me with a video. It involves his infamous cats and the use of hypnosis. You may recognize the voice that is not the cats!

Yesterday was Blue Monday. It may have been the most depressing day in history according to Dr. Cliff Arnall, a psychologist in Britain. Arnall has mathematically pinpointed Jan. 19 as the most depressing day of the year, based on factors including the weather, holiday bills and abandoned resolutions. But this year, he factored in job security fears and economic collapse. “(This was) potentially the most depressing Blue Monday we have had,” Arnall said.

Today, we can officially say we survived and what’s more we are experiencing some pretty exciting history. With the inauguration of Barack Obama, America’s first black president, many are hopeful for the change that will accompany this. Just the mere energy of hope is profound, it is like electricity running through the airwaves.

On a personal level, focus on change. Forget resolutions, instead, think about one small change you have made or can make starting today. For instance, instead of worrying about losing 50 pounds, what if you slowed down your eating? That’s right, place your utensil down between bites and be aware of chewing your food. Instead of paying off all of your debt, what if you made one small change in your daily spending habits and placed that money in a separate account, or even a piggy bank! One small step at a time.

Just for today, smile at a stranger. Commit a random act of kindness. Think a good thought about a co-worker. Take a moment today to breath deeply. Close your eyes and imagine your world a safe and happy place. See yourself smiling and hear your own laughter. Then at the end of the day, notice if you don’t feel just a teeny bit better.

Saturday evening the annual Golf Cart Parade was held in my neighborhood. It is a fun tradition, that has turned into something quite positive. Those who choose to participate decorate their golf carts for the holidays. We ride through our little community, singing and laughing and making happy noises to attract the attention of the families inside. When the children come out to see us, we throw beads and candy. The kids love this, their parents love this and most assuredly we love this fun.

The participants also bring canned goods, to share with the local food pantry. Funny thing, when telling this to a new participant she seemed a bit concerned. In fact, her face looked pale and grim at first. Somehow, she thought we were going to throw canned goods as we rode and collect candy! I couldn’t control my laughter as I saw her face and imagined the stunned look of neighbors as they ducked from the flying missiles, much as President Bush avoided the flying shoes.

It is my hope to see the neighbors bring out canned goods we can collect as we ride through next year. This tradition is a great way to teach children holiday cheer and the fun of sharing. It reminds me that the holidays are not just about “stuff”.

Last night was the first of many book signings for my dear friend and author, Janet Conner. It was a lovely event, held in a cottage home in the grand “old” area of St. Petersburg. There was a jazz pianist playing softly in the background, food and drink and of course plenty of books. So many of her friends showed up in support, such wonderful people. The room was filled with love and joy, I just had to stop and close my eyes and breathe it all in. Interestingly, an amazing assortment of aromas became clear to me as I did. A fire in the fireplace, yummy foods, scented candles, even the colognes of the attendees. I was able to anchor the love, the joy and the contentment I felt in that moment with the sound of the music and friendly chatter, the scents I was enjoying and the feel of the book in my hands. Divine!

Janet Conner has written a wonderful book titled, Writing Down Your Soul, How to Activate and Listen to the Extraordinary Voice Within. In this book, Janet walks readers through the four steps that awakens access to divine guidance through writing by hand. Janet is a columnist for UPI’s religoun and She is also the creator of Spiritual Geography, the deep soul writing system that heals the broken heart. More information about her book is available at

The holidays have a way of bringing out the perfectionist in all of us. The magazines are filled with pictures of perfectly decorated homes and yards. Many of them with hand crafted ornaments that only take 3 weeks and way too much money to reproduce. The “Perfect Family” that lives up the road always has everything done and in place the day after Thanksgiving. The stores are filled with aisles of adorable decorations and great big sale signs. The drive to fulfill the fantasy of the perfect holiday takes over and the stress level goes up another notch.

It is important to make a decision regarding your activities during the holidays, are you doing these things because you love them or because you think you should? If guilt is the reason, let it go! If it is because you haven’t let go of the perfection drive, perhaps you might enjoy this little story.

I love to create gingerbread castles. I have done this since I was in the 7th grade. For me, it is a fun, creative process that I enjoy. It is a three day process, including the dough, the patterns (I make my own) , the gluing (with melted sugar) and finally the decorating. Of course, eating them usually doesn’t take my family as long. However, it is nice to have a gingerbread castle on the Christmas table.

Several years ago, I went through the process of creating my finest castle ever. The dough was delicious, the windows were made of rock candy (dyed with food coloring) and the powdered sugar snow on the roof was just delicate enough to look real. I was thrilled as I fell into bed around midnight, exhausted and proud. The following morning I awoke to hear my husband saying, “Oh no! Little Bit!” in a panicky voice. I stumbled out of the bedroom and into the living room. Rubbing my eyes, I heard my husband repeat, “Oh no Little Bit!” and look furtively back and forth between me and the cat. His eyes were huge and his head kept wobbling back and forth as if he was watching a tennis match.

As I looked in the direction of the cat, I started to laugh. I laughed til my sides ached because of what I saw. There, smack dab in the middle of my finest creation ever, sat one very happy kitty! Little Bit was convinced that she had the best mommy ever to have created such a delicious playground, as she licked her paws, she was covered in crumbs and icing. Fortunately for me, I enjoy the process of creating the castles. I knew from experience that they get eaten anyway, it is only a matter of time. So, it was just funny.

My table did not have a gingerbread castle that year. It hasn’t in many years as I got into another baking streak for a while. I baked over 100 rum cakes (each December) for gifts and that began to take up my time. I am not baking those cakes this year (at least not 100 of them) so perhaps I’ll take another shot at gingerbread. After all, I still have a dog and a cat who think mom is amazing when she drops goodies in the kitchen!

Saturday morning my husband and I went on our favorite bike ride to the park, where we walk the park and then ride home. It was hot out, even early in the morning. The ride there was great, if uneventful. I was not fully myself however and considered if I wanted to do the whole walk. Not being one to give up easily, I decided to go ahead and walk the whole walk. Around these parts, hills are not common. Part of the walk includes a sandy hill, with tree roots all over. It is a challenge on a normal day, a real challenge on a hot day.

I was sweating and working my way up the hill when suddenly I felt weak. I attempted to push through it. It became too hard and I felt my head swimming, so I stopped. My husband looked behind to see me bent over, breathing heavy. He asked me if I was OK. I replied that I was fine, just needed to rest a moment. Then, I closed my eyes and for the first time understood the many references to seeing stars when feeling faint. I did not faint, however.

My husband asked me if I needed to sit. I was afraid if I did, I wouldn’t be able to stand back up. I thanked my husband for helping me. He laughed at that and said, “Well, gee, I thought about telling you to keep up or shut up, or maybe ditching you here for a golf game. I even thought it might be a good time to say I’m not calling any damn ambulances, so don’t even consider getting worse!” I started to giggle, he continued with further such ridiculous threats. The more he said, the more I laughed and my focus changed.

Next thing, I felt much better and we were able to continue. On the ride home, a gentleman was watering his flowers with a hose in his front yard. My husband called out and asked him to spray us. He did, it was amazingly refreshing. When we got home, my husband told me he had been quite worried, I was very pale and my lips were without color. His jokes helped me. He said, “laughter is the best medicine.”

Indeed, it is.

Happy Mother’s Day to all the mom’s out there, especially to Mumsy.

It was through Mumsy that I learned about loyalty. She is loyal to a fault. Truly, it is a fault of hers, I tried to change her, but she is stubborn. Wait, let’s call that tenacious, because I am so much like her. My dear mother believes the best about everyone, holds on to her beliefs regardless of misunderstandings (or even facts). She loves as unconditionally as a human is capable of loving.

Mumsy taught me the values I hold dear, like honesty and compassion. She has always had a great senses of humor as well. She taught me to laugh, we have shared many laughs. My mother taught me to think things through, then follow my heart. She taught me how to parent, hopefully my boys know they are loved, the way I knew it growing up. She adores my boys, it is evident. (She spoils them and undoes all my discipline!)

Most importantly, my mother taught me every naughty thing I have ever done. That is my story and I am sticking to it. It isn’t the devil who made me do it, it is my own dear mother! So, cry innocent all you want, Mumsy dearest, the truth is out for all the world to see. Oh and by the way, I love you Mumsy.

This has been around for a while. It just seems appropriate for me today. It seems I have more blonde moments when my sons are around to point them out. I mean really, how was I supposed to know that the computer monitor works better when it is plugged in? (We had unplugged everything to move stuff around.) Is it my fault that my glasses were on top of my head while I frantically searched for them? Who expects to remember to bring the clothes they’ve packed with them? Well, you get the idea.

But hey, we laugh a lot around here. Just last night, I went on a sunset cruise. The water was rough and the boat was throwing us around. The captain kept slowing down and speeding up, just to hear my laugh. I was hysterical as the water was splashing all over my lovely outfit. It just struck my funny bone and that made everyone else laugh at/with me.

I know, I know, it is late in the day for me to be posting my Friday silliness. Mea Culpa. Perhaps you will forgive me when you see the following video.

I have said how important humor is to keep your attitude positive. It is also interesting how attitude can accomplish so much. My buddy, Mark Byrne has managed to combine attitude and humor in this production in such a marvelous way. He uses balloons and his tremendous imagination to create laughter and joy everywhere he goes. Trust me, with Mark around, there is no room for stinking thinking. Mark has won several awards and accolades for his work, yet he is the first to reach out and help others. Mark, thanks for being Bad To The Balloon!

For anyone looking for a fun event, visit his website at:

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