At times we can all get a little overwhelmed with what it takes to stay healthy, both physically and mentally, but if we can take it one step at a time it’s really not intimidating at all. Altering just one routine or adding something special into your day is simple and much easier than you might think.

We’ve all heard the phrase “laughter is the best medicine.” It’s true. Laughter decreases stress hormones and increases immune cells. Laughter has such an intense effect on our hormones that it actually produces the “feel good” hormone known as dopamine and the “happy hormone “known as serotonin. This has a direct impact on those who suffer from chronic pain. Although the release of these hormones doesn’t change the pain level, it does alter our brain’s perception of the pain. Laughter is the clear-cut answer for self-healing.

There are some basic steps that we can all take to improve the quantity of laughter in our daily lives. We can all make time for a favorite comedy television show. We can also learn to not sweat the small stuff. Sometimes something that may be perceived as stressful may not be such a big deal after all — and you can actually laugh at it. For instance, if your child or pet knocks something over and makes a mess, it’s not the end of the world. Accidents happen, and we all cause them from time to time. Instead of getting upset, just grab some cleansers and laugh at the clumsy mistake.

Most importantly, get good at math. That’s right, math! Add positive people into your social circle and subtract toxic people. We all know someone who drains the energy out of the room, just as we all know someone who makes us instantly smile upon their entrance. There’s no need to feel guilty about decisions regarding your social life. It’s your life — and you need to do what makes you happy and healthy.

Many of us don’t realize how crucial it is to get a good night’s sleep. Not only do we require a peaceful night of sleep to be productive, but we require approximately eight hours. Do you think sleeping late on weekends is a good idea? It’s not. Too much sleep isn’t beneficial unless we are sick. Our bodies go into healing mode when we’re asleep. When we’re sick, we need as much rest as possible, but when we’re healthy, eight hours is all we need — and we do need it. Some great sleeping aids are lavender and chamomile teas and essential oils, either in massage oil or in a diffuser. Enjoy a nightly ritual before bedtime such as a good book or a warm, relaxing bath, unplugging at least an hour before bedtime. It’s also important to remember to avoid caffeine within six hours of bedtime and avoid late meals, because that will give you a head start on a good night’s sleep.

A proper diet nurtures us, both physically and mentally. Certain ingredients in processed foods, such as sugar, cause illness and mood disorders. Find more healthy ways to get real sweeteners, such as Stevia and local honey, which is always best because it introduces us to pollen and helps us avoid seasonal allergies.

Gardening is great therapy and it provides our family with fresh and organic vegetables and herbs. Our bodies crave fresh, live food — not processed food riddled with chemicals. Our brains and hormones react wonderfully to real food.

Adding a bit of laughter, good quality sleep and a good diet into your life is not only simple, but it’s well worth it. You won’t be the only one who enjoys the newer, healthier you. Everyone around you will enjoy you even more than they already do.

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Kelly Baker
Kelly Baker is an author and freelance writer. She mainly writes non-fiction, but has also published poetry. Her first book was “White Supremacy: Behind the Eyes of Hate,” a true story about a brave man who infiltrated a hate group in order to help shut them down. The story was featured on Fox News. The book contains an abundance of confidential information, suspense, intrigue and action. Kelly’s many articles have been published in various books, magazines and newspapers. Contact her at kellydenisebaker@gmail.com.

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