September 30, 2011

The Art of Laughter

Filed under: laughter — Tags: , — Kcondon @ 5:10 pm

If there is one thing we can’t get enough of in our lives it would be laughter. You know, the stomach scrunching, face hurting, knee bending, hurts-but-can’t-stop fits that once started become almost impossible to stop. Believe it or not, these infectious bouts of laughter are good for you in a number of ways.

When you hear laughter you should gravitate towards it. If people may start to think of you as creepy for suddenly joining their conversation, you can always show them this blog to save your reputation. Most of the time, people are more than willing to share funny experiences as it gives them a chance to relive the laughter. Laughing, and spending time with positive people tends to brighten ones outlook on life. Not only do the mental benefits of laughter include the ease of anxiety and fear, laughter also alleviates feelings of stress, and evokes positive feelings and moods. Laughter is good to have in all relationships as it increases bonding, promotes intimacy, helps eliminate feelings of tension and works to reduce anxiety.

Physically, laughter exercises parts of the body as well. The diaphragm, respiratory, abdominal, back, legs, and facial muscles are all exerted during a fit of giggles. Laughter works the blood vessels as it increases blood flow thus reducing the risk of cardiovascular complications. Even the immune system experiences a boost after a bout of laughter as immune cell productivity, and immunoglobulin levels increase. Laughter also shields us from the effects of stress and decreases the levels of stress hormones. After laughing, you may feel more relaxed as laughter provides a physical and emotional release.

It is said that a typical child laughs 300 times a day whereas an adult laughs less than twenty. How to find more to laugh about? Movies, television, and humorous literature are known to stir up some laughs time to time. Spending more time with your friends and going out to create more funny memories can also help. Comedy clubs not only add laughter to your life, they allow you to bring you friends with you too! Whenever you are facing a tough problem or are in difficult point in your life try to find humor in your situation, although irony is usually more apparent. Having thoughts as “In the future, this would be a great story to tell” or “My kid will never take me for granted again …after I lost him in the mall for three hours”, will keep you lighthearted and stress free so you can deal with your situation in a healthier manner and with more clarity.

August 21, 2011

The Healthy Effects of Music

Filed under: music — Tags: , , — Kcondon @ 10:05 pm

Before you turn that music down, listen up to this news. Have you ever wondered why so many of us can’t get enough of our music? Why has music been around since prehistoric times? If you have ever asked these questions, the following may help shed some light on this topic.

Music has been found to influence our moods and perspectives. Countless studies have found that the emotions conveyed by instrumental music, singers, and even musicians can be transferred to the listener and become a part of their own emotions. You and many other people have already experienced this transference of emotion before this effect of music had been established. For example, when going for a run or when about to start a work out people tend to choose music with upbeat tempos and energetic tones. In the same manner, when attempting to fall asleep, people choose to listen to soft, relaxing music. Music is used clinically to treat people in pain, or treat people with psychological problems (called music therapy). Recently, music has been found to significantly reduce anxiety in cancer patients.

If you have ever been annoyed with your teen’s choice of music, this interesting piece of information may pacify you. Music has been found to affect the brain and to produce a natural “high” similar to that of sex and illicit drugs. The high created by music can be credited towards the dopamine released in the brain. Researchers found this high to be most intense and pleasurable when the individual is listening to his or her preferred type of music, whether it be rock, pop, punk, country, or hip hop. Teens can be moody even with their music, so why not let them be happy, especially when the source of their happiness is from something as healthy as music?

Studies have found that children and teens who are regularly involved in music performance and music appreciation classes tend to do better academically, especially in math. Researchers have studied data provided by the US Department of Education in which they discovered that students who consistently practiced and studied music since middle and high school are more adept in twelfth grade mathematics when compared to their non-musical peers. These students were also found to score higher in SATs significantly. Music lessons have also been found to increase the self-esteem of both children and teens, as they tend to gain confidence when mastering new skills.

Music can also influence the manner in which your brain functions, and its shape. Learning to play music can enhance intelligence, improve concentration and also increase the size of grey matter in the right auditory cortex. Listening to music has been found to lower blood pressure and improve your heart rate as well.