Are you struggling with the stress of this holiday season? Does your to do list seem never ending and a little overwhelming? Are you struggling with the cold Idaho weather?

If you are like many of us, you have answered yes to at least one of these questions! Making simple everyday changes to your routine can help reduce negative symptoms, while increasing positive mood. One of the simplest changes you can make is to increase your laughter.

Did you know that laughing has a positive effect not only on your physical health, but on your mental health as well. According to the Mayo Clinic laughing enhances your intake of oxygen-rich air, stimulates your heart, lungs and muscles, and increases the endorphins that are released by your brain. Want to know what else laughing can do?

Laughing will relax you, stimulate circulation, boost your immunity, fight stress, ease physical pain, make it easier to cope with difficult situations, help you connect with other people, reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety, and will make you feel happier in general!

If you are finding it hard to laugh, it’s okay. You can actually force yourself to laugh at the beginning. The more you laugh the less it will feel forced, and the more naturally it will come to you. You can find laughter in many situations, however it is important to note that you don’t ever want to laugh at the expense of someone else.

Give laughter a try during the hard times and see what difference it can make in your life and the lives of those around.

To find out more on the benefits of laughter or to get ideas on how to increase laughter in your life visit:

https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/in-depth/stress-relief/art-20044456

Julie King, LCSW