Summer Stress Relievers

Laugh! It is good for your health!

By Mary Nicholson

Can’t you just picture yourself, lying in a hammock, refreshing drink in hand?  That used to be the picture that summertime brought to mind, but it now seems to be a thing of the past.  No longer is summer the stress-free season that it once was.  But somehow, with the sun shining and warm temperatures, stress is a little easier to deal with for many of us.  But stress is stress, so how to deal with it in the heat?

Here are a few of my un-scientific suggestions:

First, go have an ice cream cone.  You should have a cone, not a dish.  Eating an ice cream cone forces you to slow down; you can’t eat it fast!  And if it’s really hot out, you have to concentrate on where to lick next to prevent the melting ice cream from dripping too much.  So that focuses your attention on something else, at least temporarily.  And who doesn’t enjoy an ice cream cone?

Do something that gets your heart pumping, even if it’s only for a few minutes.  Jumping jacks, running in place, jumping rope, bike riding, swimming, or even a brisk walk helps clean your head or helps you think better.

Laughter is one of the best stress relievers of all times.  It’s free and it has been shown to reduce the level of stress hormones while increasing the level of health-enhancing hormones and neurotransmitters.  Laughter also increases the number of antibody-producing cells and enhances the effectiveness of T cells, which means a stronger immune system.  There’s no shortage of funny stories and videos on-line or sit-coms on tv.  But if those aren’t available to you or you need a few yucks right away, think of a situation or scene that makes you laugh.  Here’s the one that does it for me:

About 20 years ago, my husband and I were travelling.  We were busy getting ready in the morning for whatever it was we had to do.  We were in a small town hotel and the lighting wasn’t great.  We also shared a suit case.  We both packed our own things and we both happened to bring teal polo shirts.  While I was in the bathroom, my 6’ 4”, 210 pound husband was getting dressed.  When I saw him, he had a puzzled look on his face and asked what happened to his shirt?  It didn’t fit at all!  As you might guess, he had on my shirt, which I still don’t know how he even got it on!  It fit him like a mid-riff and the sleeves were as tight as they could be!  He didn’t seem to think it was near as funny as I did.  And now when I need a quick laugh fix, I just can recall that situation, and that does the trick!  So think of a story, joke, cartoon or situation that tickles your funny bone, and you’ll be one step ahead of the stress game!

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