Laughter is the sun

“Laughter is the sun that drives winter from the human face.”

—Victor Hugo, 19th Century French poet/novelist

Image of a small boy running through sunlighted sprinkler

Image from Unsplash by Brenda Godinez

This time of year, many people – particularly those in their retirement years – head south to sunnier skies and warmer temperatures. These “snow birds” are somewhat reborn and experience greater youthful vitality when they head off to winter camp.

Many of us, including myself, who are still working and live in a climate that gets a full dose of winter, can feel a bit down at times and long for an early spring.


How might you bring truckloads of laughter – instead of road salt – to your days to drive away the winter blues and brighten your worlds?

A light heart lives long

“A light heart lives long.”

—Irish Gaelic Proverb

Image of two old women laughing

Image from Flickr by Patrick

Did you know that workplace stress has been proven to increase the risk of heart attacks and shorten your life span? I am sure you could list five or ten other factors that make the impact even worse!

Listed below are are some lighthearted or heart-related activities, proven effective to add both years to your life and life to your years.

  • Laughter: just 15 minutes of laughing at a funny video can improve blood flow to your heart by 50%, reduce blood clot formation, cholesterol deposition, and inflammation.
  • Optimism, meditation, and other mindfulness efforts help us view the world through a more hopeful and lighthearted lens.
  • A short nap or frequent breaks in your day to recharge have been shown to reduce coronary mortality by 37%.
  • Social engagements which include family, faith, and other forms of community involvement help us lighten our burdens, share more joy, and fill our hearts.


Explore at least one of the strategies above to brighten and lengthen your days and let me know what happens.

Consider replying to this post with some of your own lighthearted strategies to live a longer, more fulfilling life.

Happy Halloween

Happy Halloween!

Image of kids in Halloween Costumes

Image from

October 31 marks the ancient Celtic Holiday of Halloween, which later became All Soul’s Day in the Roman Catholic tradition.

For us it marks the final turn from summer to deep autumn, when pumpkins are ripe, trees are colorful, and some folks are full of mischief.


Consider taking on a new goal that scares you just a bit.

Belly laughs not Bellyaches

“A person who belly laughs doesn’t bellyache.”

-Susan Thorman, English Teacher

Image from Flickr by ampshot

Image from Flickr by ampshot

Most of us have heard the adage about laughter being “the best medicine.” With a bit of research, I discovered that a good belly laugh provides physical, mental, and even social benefits, including:

enhanced immunity reduce stress decreased pain
reduced heart disease muscle relaxation reduced fear & anxiety
strengthens relationships improved mood easier bounce-back from setbacks
added joy and zest for life enhances cooperation & teamwork reduces and diffuses conflicts
promotes bonding & sense of community


What strategies and tactics can you add to your world to dramatically increase the quality and quantity of belly laughs? If you make this a habit, I’ll bet there will be very little room for belly aching!

“Laughter is an instant vacation.”

“Laughter is an instant vacation.”

– Milton Berle

Milton Berle

In the book Anatomy of an Illness, Norman Cousins goes to considerable length to overcome his debilitating condition, with the help of funny movies, other forms of humor, and high dose Vitamin C.

There is considerable evidence that the lighthearted experience of laughter has positive effects on our immune system. It protects our nervous system by reducing stress, and it may actually enhance our life span.

Milton Burle, often referred to as “Mr. Television” or “Uncle Miltie” was born in 1908 and lived to the age of 93; he had a career of bringing “s—t-eating grins” and belly laughs to generations.

In our rapidly-moving and often stress-filled lives, we often find ourselves longing for an escape to our favorite vacation spot.  Unfortunately, our ability to make these journeys may only occur a few times a year. Let’s all take Burle’s suggestion, and take far more mini-vacations to brighten our days.


Google Milton Burle and check out some of his video clips on YouTube.

Explore the works of other comedians – such as Lucille Ball, Carol Burnett, Robin Williams, Billy Crystal and Bob Hope – or check out some jokes / funny story books and websites and share a few chuckles on a daily basis.