No one can deny that we live in stressful times—on a global scale and in most of our personal lives. The turmoil of everyday life can take a toll on us both physically and emotionally. No wonder we snap at the cashier in the grocery store or feel a compelling urge to ram our cars into the jerk that cut us off on the highway. The tension we let fester inside amplifies the minor problems we face everyday. So what’s the solution? Learn to laugh more. Seriously. Laughter is a proven antidote to stress hormones and it can help make the most difficult situations feel a little more tolerable.

Pamela Aye Simon, a Masters Level Registered Dietitian, Lifestyle Coach and author of the newly released “Book of Blah: Random Thoughts for Boring Days” (Warren Publishing, Inc) believes that most us need a refresher course to regain our sense of humor. “I see so many people who are stressed out and find themselves going berserk over minor issues,” says Simon. “We need to learn to take a deep breath, assess the situation and then laugh at the inane nature of it all. Life feels softer if you can see the humorous story behind your frustrations. Laughing may not make the problem itself disappear but it sure helps makes things seem better.”

Simon isn’t alone in valuing the benefits of humor. Researchers at Loma Linda University’s Schools of Medicine and Public Health tout the health benefits of laughter. They’ve discovered that laughter increases the body’s ability to use oxygen. It also lowers blood pressure, reduces stress hormones and even boosts the immune system, making it a key weapon in your arsenal to combat the ravages of stress.

That all-natural stress relief is one of the primary reasons Simon strives to find humor in things that many people find frustrating—menopause for example. “Let’s be real; menopause is a fact of life for women, we can’t avoid it,” says Simon. “Instead of getting angry about it or complaining I look at the advantages. Thanks to my hot flashes, I can save a LOT of money on winter clothing!”

Aging and hormones aren’t the only issues that we should tackle with humor. Family issues are one of the biggest and most demanding stressors we all face. Whether we have acrimonious relationships with our in-laws or an obnoxious relative that everyone tries to pretend is normal. Each family struggles with its own issues and laughter can be a great coping mechanism when it’s time to gather all the relatives together.

“I have definitely learned to lighten up and laugh at family dynamics,” says Simon. “I like to sit back and observe the members of my family—dysfunctional behaviors come so naturally to us that we make unhealthy interactions look easy. It’d be a shame to wreck the fun by getting help! Seriously, learning to accept the reality of our families and see the humor of our foibles and flaws is often the best way to deal with it because we can’t change other people. But we can change our approach and learn to laugh more.”

About the Author:

Pam Aye Simon, MS, RD, LD is a Masters-Level Registered Dietitian. She has served as a research dietitian, formulating laboratory procedures for product testing and coordinating nutritional studies. Simon has published several articles on nutrition and a book, called “Chubby No More.”

She is a Certified Life Coach, specializing in diet dysfunction, i.e. healing the spirit from damages incurred by failed weight loss attempts. Simon, who is also a yoga instructor, has created Lazy Ladies’ Fitness- a fitness program for non-exercising individuals.

Simon is an accomplished musician who’s studied voice and played and taught French horn for many years. She and her family live in Arlington Heights, Illinois with various rescued animals. To learn more about Pam please visit her website: www.chubbynomore.org.

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