Jackson Free Press Article: Laughter, the Best Medicine

My first article for the Jackson Free Press was published last week; I mentioned in my post about laughter that I’d share it with you. If you want the detailed version of the dramatic burn story, you can read the post about being thankful things aren’t worse.

Here’s a link to my JFP article, “Laughter, the Best Medicine.” You can read the print version online as well. Here’s an excerpt:

The power of laughter to manage overall physical health, stress level and mood are well-documented. Laughing for 10 to 15 minutes burns 10 to 40 calories, about half the number burned while walking at a moderate pace for the same amount of time. If you simply laugh this much every day for a year, you could lose up to four pounds. Laughter works the abs and shoulders, leaving them more relaxed, and it gets the heart pumping and blood flowing. In addition to burning calories, it diminishes the boredom and blues that often trigger overeating.

Laughing more can improve most areas of your life. In the workplace, laughter plays a role in increasing job satisfaction, creativity and performance. In relationships, it cements the bond between people and diffuses conflict. Every day holds hidden opportunities to laugh, and here are a few ways to find them.

It’s followed by a list of tips for laughing more, such as stockpiling secret things that make you laugh and hanging out with little kids. There’s also a sidebar about where to find laughs online (Note that Hulu is the BEST THING EVER to catch up on shows. It’s free and legit. Use it!):

• Hulu.com (www.hulu.com): Clips and full-length episodes of shows like “The Office,” “The Daily Show” and “Saturday Night Live.”

• YouTube.com (www.youtube.com): A mixed bag of literally millions of video clips. Searching for “comedy” yields results that include sketch comedy, stand-up and funny sports clips.

• Comedy Podcasts (www.comedy.podcast.com): Humorous online audio clips of all kinds, from talk shows to animated comic strips.

• Failblog (www.failblog.org): Unintentionally funny scenes and situations captured by users through photos and video.

• The Onion (www.theonion.com): The satirical newspaper now features video and audio clips in addition to its hilarious articles and infographics.

This spring, I’ll continue to write for the JFP, an alternative news weekly like the San Francisco Bay Guardian with a circulation of 17,000 copies, and an average of 60,000 print readers (not including those online), so I’m excited to be freelancing for them.

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