April is National Stress Awareness and Humor Month
It is well known that laughter is the best medicine, so why not get a hefty dose during National Humor Month? April is often a stressful time of the year. Taxes are due on April 15th, the federal and state budgets are out of control, the end of the school year is fast approaching, and it can sometimes be difficult to even force a smile. That is why it is important during this time of year to take a minute to just laugh, tell a funny joke or story and decrease the stress in ones life.
Statistics show that children laugh on average 400 times a day whereas adults only laugh about 17 times a day. Laugh more because it has many therapeutic effects that can improve the quality of life and is being explored by health and medical professionals. Below are some therapeutic effects of laughter.
• Lowers blood pressure and increases cardiac output
• Increases ones immunity
• Promotes relaxation
• Reduces stress
• Increases oxygen levels in the blood which gives people more energy
• Increases the endorphins in the body which results in an overall sense of well-being
• Stimulates both sides of the brain to enhance learning
• Eases muscle tension and psychological stress, which keeps the brain alert and allows people to retain
• Elevates moods
• Can burn calories equivalent to several minutes on the rowing machine or the exercise bike
• Strive to see humor in life and attempt to laugh at situations rather than bemoan them will help improve
your disposition and the disposition of those around you
• Humor helps you connect with others. People naturally respond to the smiles and good cheer to
those around them
After experiencing an event that is extremely frightening which includes; personal or environmental disasters, being threatened with an assault people sometimes have a strong and lingering reaction to stress. Getting the correct care and support can help put problems in perspective and help stressful feelings and symptoms subside. Everyone experiences stress at times. Stress can help people develop skills they need to cope with and adapt to new and possible threatening situations throughout life. However, the beneficial part of stress decreases when it is severe enough to overwhelm a person's ability to cope effectively.
Sometimes after experiencing a very traumatic event people have a strong and lingering reaction to stress. Strong emotions may be part of the normal and temporary reaction to the stress of an overwhelming event. When the symptoms of stress are intense or last too long, it can cause people to feel overwhelmed and decrease their ability to cope.
Common Reactions to a Stressful Situation
• Headaches, back pains, and stomach problems
• Difficulty concentrating
• Feeling powerless
• Sleeping difficulties
• Tension and irritability
• Fear and anxiety about the future
• Feeling numb
• Difficulty making decisions
• Loss of appetite
• Nightmares and reoccurring thoughts about the event
• Losing interest in usual activities
• Increased use of drugs and alcohol
• Sadness and depression
• Disbelief and shock
How to Manage Stress
• Balance work, home and play
• Be open-minded and on the look out for humor because it exists almost anywhere and will decrease your
stress and make life more enjoyable
• Get support from family and friends who will help you see the bright side
• Keep a positive outlook on life and always try to have a smile on your face
• Your ability to laugh at yourself and situations will help reduce your stress level and make life more
• Take time to relax and have fun
• Get regular doses of humor from various sources such as television sitcoms, movies, plays or books.
• Share time with friends and family. Statistics show that people are 30 times more likely to laugh in the
presence of others than just by themselves.
• Adults should get 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night
• Children birth to six months need 16-20 hours of sleep each night
ages six to twelve months need 14-15 hours of sleep each night
ages 1 to 3 need 10-13 hours of sleep each night
ages 3 to 10 need 10 to 12 hours of sleep each night
ages 11 to 12 need about 10 hours of sleep each night
Teenagers need at least 9 hours of sleep per night
• If needed, getting the correct care and support, it can help put problems into perspective and help
stressful feelings and symptoms subside in a few days or weeks.
So during this stressful month, if you hear someone laugh join in and decrease your stress. Watch a funny television show, movie or reminisce about the past special times with family and friends. Laughter is contagious, so why not spread the joy, smiles and humor with people around you and we will all be less stressed and feel a little bit better. Remember laughter is the best medicine and the doctor prescribes a daily dose of chocolate and a daily dose of chuckles.
The American Academy of Pediatrics Guide to Your Child's Sleep