This morning I have been thinking about how it is impossible to receive something with a clenched fist. The image that keeps coming to mind is that from “The Monkey and The Juggler.” The monkey was unable to receive one or retrieve all the peanuts he held after reaching his hand into a jar because he refused to unclench his fist. He wouldn’t open his hand to let go of one peanut, therefore his hand remained stuck. Ever feel like that? May be you aren’t even aware this is where you are at. I’m reminded this morning to share with you: open your hand. Whatever has been holding you back from the healthy lifestyle and goals you are not meeting, unclench your fist. In order to receive something new we must open our hands and let something go.
For example, a few years ago I decided I wanted to complete my schooling to obtain my degree. In order to do this, I had to give some things up to allow for more time for homework and studying. Yes, it was a stretch. Sometimes a painful one. However, I had to choose to unclench my fist, open my hand to let some things go in order to receive more time.
Do you struggle with eating the right foods? Is temptation too great? Unclench your fist and pick differently. There is such a variety to choose from, beautiful and delicious healthy, clean foods. Does eating clean get boring? Try some new recipes. There are hundreds of creative recipes free for the choosing on the Internet, free cookbooks can be downloaded for your Kindle or Nook, and recipe books are a dime to a dozen at thrift stores or garage sales. Load up half your dinner plate with vegetables and fruits. The more healthy foods you give your body, the more your body will crave those foods. Consider trying Shakeology®, which eliminates unhealthy cravings and increases your cravings for healthy foods.
Is exercise nearly impossible because you smoke? Do you want to quit smoking, and continually fail? Don’t stop trying, try again! Unclench your fist and replace your cigarettes with patches, the electronic cigarette or even medication. Talk to your doctor. Join a support group. Start walking. Drink a lot of water. Rebuild your lungs one day at a time. You can do this! How do I know? Because I HAVE DONE IT! I smoked for years and never thought I could live my life without cigarettes being part of it. I unclenched my fist and let cigarettes go and replaced them with health. I am free, and free to exercise with the full capacity of my lungs. Nothing is impossible with faith and persistent efforts.
Don’t have time for exercise? This can be coined with our kids saying they don’t have time to get their homework done. No more excuses! Set your alarm 30 minutes early, break up your exercise in increments, do whatever it takes and manipulate your schedule to allow for this “me” time for your overall health and well-being. As much as exercise may feel or seem like a chore, IT IS NOT! Exercise and movement are as important as eating, sleeping and praying.
Most of us know exactly what we are holding in our clenched fist, and it is usually more than one thing. Take some time to quietly reflect on what you are holding on to that is preventing you from opening your hand to receive something else, something better, which is blessed good health.
I thought I would share the story with you also. Think about these things, will you?
The Monkey and The Juggler
In a mango orchard outside a village there lived a mischievous monkey. The whole day, he would jump from one tree to another. Thus the monkey kept on eating the ripe mangoes. The orchard-keeper tried to trap the monkey. But every time the monkey escaped the trap.
One day, the monkey wandered out to the nearby town. “The town people are so busy. There is so much crowd here,” the monkey thought. Soon the monkey was sneaking into houses and running away with eatables. By evening, he had made life difficult for the town people. “The town is more fun than the orchard. I will live here,” he thought.
Days went by and the monkey was looked upon by the town people with terror. “Here he comes again,” they screamed when they saw the monkey.
One day, a juggler came to the town. The people of the town approached him. “We want you to help us get rid of that mischievous monkey,” they said to the juggler. The juggler said in return, “Do not worry. Get me some jars with narrow necks,”
When the jars of the size were brought to him, he put peanuts into the jars and placed them out on a field.
The monkey became curious when he saw the jars. When he went and peeped inside the jars, he saw peanuts. “Yummy! Let me quickly grab the peanuts and run,” he thought. He put his hand inside the jar and grabbed a big handful.
But he could not pull out his clenched fist, as the neck of the jar was so narrow. If the monkey dropped some peanuts back into the jar, he could have pulled his hand out. But he was greedy. So he did not drop some peanuts into the jar.
The town people trapped the monkey with his hand inside the jar. They got hold of the rope and tied him in a post. Then the monkey was sold to a zoo. That was the end of the greedy monkey.
|Physical Health Benefits:||Mental Health Benefits:
The Health Benefits of Humor and Laughter
Humor is infectious. The sound of roaring laughter is far more contagious than any cough, sniffle, or sneeze. When laughter is shared, it binds people together and increases happiness and intimacy. Laughter also triggers healthy physical changes in the body. Humor and laughter strengthen your immune system, boost your energy, diminish pain, and protect you from the damaging effects of stress. Best of all, this priceless medicine is fun, free, and easy to use!
Laughter is strong medicine for mind and body
~ Paul E. McGhee, Ph.D.
Laughter is a powerful antidote to stress, pain, and conflict. Nothing works faster or more dependably to bring your mind and body back into balance than a good laugh. Humor lightens your burdens, inspires hopes, connects you to others, and keeps you grounded, focused, and alert.
With so much power to heal and renew, the ability to laugh easily and frequently is a tremendous resource for surmounting problems, enhancing your relationships, and supporting both physical and emotional health.
(My husband, Lee and I being flash-blinded by our friends camera phone during dinner last evening.)
Laughter is good for your health
- Laughter relaxes the whole body. A good, hearty laugh relieves physical tension and stress, leaving your muscles relaxed for up to 45 minutes after.
- Laughter boosts the immune system. Laughter decreases stress hormones and increases immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies, thus improving your resistance to disease.
- Laughter triggers the release of endorphins, the body’s natural feel-good chemicals. Endorphins promote an overall sense of well-being and can even temporarily relieve pain.
- Laughter protects the heart. Laughter improves the function of blood vessels and increases blood flow, which can help protect you against a heart attack and other cardiovascular problems.
(This is my husband and I holding our eyes open as wide and long as we possibly can after being flash-blinded by a camera phone!)
Laughter and humor help you stay emotionally healthy
Laughter makes you feel good. And the good feeling that you get when you laugh remains with you even after the laughter subsides. Humor helps you keep a positive, optimistic outlook through difficult situations, disappointments, and loss.
More than just a respite from sadness and pain, laughter gives you the courage and strength to find new sources of meaning and hope. Even in the most difficult of times, a laugh–or even simply a smile–can go a long way toward making you feel better. And laughter really is contagious—just hearing laughter primes your brain and readies you to smile and join in the fun.
The link between laughter and mental health
- Laughter dissolves distressing emotions. You can’t feel anxious, angry, or sad when you’re laughing.
- Laughter helps you relax and recharge. It reduces stress and increases energy, enabling you to stay focused and accomplish more.
- Humor shifts perspective, allowing you to see situations in a more realistic, less threatening light. A humorous perspective creates psychological distance, which can help you avoid feeling overwhelmed.
(Our dear friends, Julie & Chris, dinner last evening.)
Bringing more humor and laughter into your life
Want to bring the fun? Get a pet…
Most of us have experienced the joy of playing with a furry friend, and pets are a rewarding way to bring more laughter and joy into your life. But did you know that having a pet is also good for your mental and physical health? Studies show that pets can protect you depression, stress, and even heart disease.
Laughter is your birthright, a natural part of life that is innate and inborn. Infants begin smiling during the first weeks of life and laugh out loud within months of being born. Even if you did not grow up in a household where laughter was a common sound, you can learn to laugh at any stage of life.
Begin by setting aside special times to seek out humor and laughter, as you might with working out, and build from there. Eventually, you’ll want to incorporate humor and laughter into the fabric of your life, finding it naturally in everything you do.
Here are some ways to start:
- Smile. Smiling is the beginning of laughter. Like laughter, it’s contagious. Pioneers in “laugh therapy,” find it’s possible to laugh without even experiencing a funny event. The same holds for smiling. When you look at someone or see something even mildly pleasing, practice smiling.
- Count your blessings. Literally make a list. The simple act of considering the good things in your life will distance you from negative thoughts that are a barrier to humor and laughter. When you’re in a state of sadness, you have further to travel to get to humor and laughter.
- When you hear laughter, move toward it. Sometimes humor and laughter are private, a shared joke among a small group, but usually not. More often, people are very happy to share something funny because it gives them an opportunity to laugh again and feed off the humor you find in it. When you hear laughter, seek it out and ask, “What’s funny?”
- Spend time with fun, playful people. These are people who laugh easily–both at themselves and at life’s absurdities–and who routinely find the humor in everyday events. Their playful point of view and laughter are contagious.
- Bring humor into conversations. Ask people, “What’s the funniest thing that happened to you today? This week? In your life?”
Using humor and play to overcome challenges and enhance your life
The ability to laugh, play, and have fun with others not only makes life more enjoyable but also helps you solve problems, connect with others, and be more creative. People who incorporate humor and play into their daily lives find that it renews them and all of their relationships.
Life brings challenges that can either get the best of you or become playthings for your imagination. When you “become the problem” and take yourself too seriously, it can be hard to think outside the box and find new solutions. But when you play with the problem, you can often transform it into an opportunity for creative learning.
Playing with problems seems to come naturally to children. When they are confused or afraid, they make their problems into a game, giving them a sense of control and an opportunity to experiment with new solutions. Interacting with others in playful ways helps you retain this creative ability.
As laughter, humor, and play become an integrated part of your life, your creativity will flourish and new discoveries for playing with friends, coworkers, acquaintances, and loved ones will occur to you daily. Humor takes you to a higher place where you can view the world from a more relaxed, positive, creative, joyful, and balanced perspective.
Wishing you laughter throughout your week and may laughter be part of your choice to Keep Choosing Consistency,
Laughter is the Best Medicine. Retrieved from http://www.helpguide.org/life/humor_laughter_health.htm