The Perspective
WINTER 2014/2015

In March, take stock of your emotional health.

kid with glassesHappiness is hard to define, but good emotional health is an important key to physical health. So stop and smell the roses on National Flower Month and Take A Walk In The Park Day (March 31) and connect with your children during Sing With Your Child Month. Check in with older relatives during WellDerlyDay/Well Elderly Day (March 18) and most of all, remember that March is International Mirth Month and Let's Laugh Day (March 19).

Your emotional health affects your physical health. How you manage stress, cope with problems, handle difficult people or deal with day-to-day issues are keys to good emotional health. Individuals who are emotionally healthy are aware of their feelings and their behaviors. And there are some studies that found poor physical health can have an impact on your emotional health. In an article posted on PsychCentral, a 2009 study in the UK found that poor physical health can also increase the risk of depression based on a study of patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. In that study, 22 percent of the patients had at least mild depression based on a widely used test.

man laughingHow can you help yourself to achieve good emotional health? Laughter is excellent medicine. Laughter is infectious. It's as catchy as a cold but so much better for you. Remember those moments in church or in class when you and your cohorts weren't supposed to laugh but couldn't contain yourselves?

Humor helps you develop a positive and optimistic outlook. Laughing is an excellent tool to alleviate stress. Comedians are often kids who used humor to fend off bullies during those awful junior high years.

There are physical benefits to laughter. A good laugh can have lasting effects for up to 45 minutes! It boosts immunity, lowers stress hormones, decreases pain, relaxes muscles, it triggers endorphins – the feel-good chemicals of the body. Laughter improves the function of your blood vessels and increases blood flow.

men jokingThe emotional benefits are even better. Laughter eases anxiety, enhances your mood, and lessens fear. It helps you 'get over yourself' by making you less inhibited and forgetting old grievances.

The social benefits are best. Laughter helps build relationships, it defuses tense situations or conflicts, it can help shift perspectives, it makes people attractive to others, and it enhances bonding between people. Humor helps build emotional connectedness.

It creates a bonding in tense and difficult situations. Laughter and humor help people to understand difficult circumstances and to come up with realistic solutions.

Shared laughter is a gift that keeps on giving. It keeps relationships exciting and renewed. With better relationships, people can heal old resentments and disagreements.

Can you make yourself "funnier?" Maybe, maybe not. But you can bring more humor into your life by taking a few steps.

family watching videos on phone
  • Relax!
  • Watch funny movies, TV shows or plays
  • Share a good joke with a friend
  • Smile more
  • Get a pet
  • If you hear laughter . . . move toward it and find out what all the fun is about
  • Spend time with funny and joyful people
  • Take yourself less seriously
  • Be more spontaneous
  • Consider the good things in your life

So, check out Youtube for the funniest kitten video you can find, check out Netflix for a Farrelly Brothers movie, tune in to SNL, South Park or Key and Peele, or for those with more old school sensibilities, check out The Three Stooges or the Marx Brothers – and laugh your way to a healthier you!



In 2010, suicide was the 6th leading cause of death in Nevada; nationally it is the 10th leading cause of death. Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death for Nevadans 15-34 years of age and more Nevadans die by suicide than by homicide or motor vehicle crashes. If you are someone you know is in crisis, please call: 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or visit the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline website at:

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