Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Lunar New Year 2011

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Here's wishing all Chinese everywhere a Happy & Prosperous Lunar New Year!

It so happens that I discovered this old Star newspaper article dated August 23, 2008 (pp WE7-WE8) – in which the inviting headline “Exercise that laugh” beckoned me! Right away, I remembered Karen Sze Tho, a fellow Toastmaster who is really into laughter yoga and who has shared with us many useful tips. But I must confess that this activity is not my cup of tea – for the simple reason that I am not the laughing type. Just because I am a killjoy doesn’t mean that others cannot enjoy this therapeutic activity. After all, researchers weren’t kidding when they said laughter is the best medicine.

Some excellent reasons why laughter is good for you:

It’s a good workout – Studies have shown that 20 seconds of a good, hearty belly laugh is worth three minutes on the rowing machine because it increases our heart rate and pulse. And it also tones muscles.

It boosts emotional and physical health – Laughter decreases stress hormones and increases anti-bodies, strengthens your immune system as well as acts as a natural painkiller. Not only that, a study found that people with heart disease were 40% less likely to laugh in a variety of situations compared to people of the same age without heart disease. Laughing, apparently, can help protect you against heart disease.

It makes you smarter – Laughter stimulates both sides of the brain to enhance learning. By easing muscle tension and psychological stress, laughing keeps the brain alert and allows people to retain more information.

It turns you into a sex god/goddess – It’s a well-known fact that men like women who laugh in their presence. Meanwhile, women tend to gravitate towards someone funny whom they’re able to share a laughter or two with. Romantic relationships based on playfulness and humor also tend to last longer.

Now that I know the secrets of laughter – I must start laughing. Then I will be healthy, smart and sexy. Stephen King (Hearts in Atlantis) had this quote: “You can't deny laughter; when it comes, it plops down in your favorite chair and stays as long as it wants”. My trouble is that I don’t have a favorite chair! Okay, I will go to IKEA and get me a chair. And then I can laugh freely!

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