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Benefits of laughing this year

February 1, 2018 GMT

WESLEY CHAPEL, FL-- Like clockwork, people have composed their lists of New Year’s resolutions, and at the same time have ended the past year with some of the same problems, frustrations or worries of previous years.

People want to take a brighter outlook and ride those resolutions to a higher quality of life in the New Year – but inevitably, familiar issues get them down year after year.

How can this year be different? How can a person stay more positive and hopeful despite problems that won’t go away after the big ball dropped in Times Square?

“Making laughter a part of every-day life is the answer. When life gets tough, laughter begins,” says Lee Volpe (www.LeeVolpe.com), a humorist and author of Black Sheep Tries Bleach: Humorous Stories to Ease Life’s Growing Pains.

“Everyone has humor inside. It is so healthy to use it in a variety of ways. When a person really deconstructs some things in their life that may be problems or annoyances, they can creatively come at them with laughter, and their whole outlook changes.”

Mentally and physically, the benefits of laughter are many, Volpe says, and she lists five of those benefits that can help anyone make 2018 a happier New Year:

• Reduce stress

Laughter reduces the level of stress hormones, such as cortisol and epinephrine (adrenaline), and it boosts the immune system. Science has further shown that after a good laugh, muscles can be relaxed for up to 45 minutes.

“Laughter is a free stress-management strategy, and in today’s pressurized, problem-filled world, there’s a big premium on that,” Volpe says. “Laughter is often the best kind of therapy.”

• Burn calories

Everybody wants to lose weight in the New Year, right? “Laugh hard enough and a person may be able to skip some gym visits – and who doesn’t want to do that,” Volpe says.

Studies show that a good stream of laughter can burn 40 calories in 30 minutes. “I saw where a person really can burn 75 calories in 30 minutes by banging their head against a wall,” Volpe says. “Knock yourself out.”

• Become a coping mechanism

Laughter makes us feel good. Instead of complaining about life’s frustrations, trying to laugh about them helps. “Humor helps a person keep a positive outlook through difficult situations,” Volpe says.

“When something extremely frustrating or depressing occurs, try to take the longer view and envision that one day you’ll be able to look back on it and laugh. But why not laugh right now? A person will also feel stronger.

This approach will also make a person better equipped to deal with future negative events less stressfully.”

• Bring people together, strengthen relationships

Laughter connects people with others. A person can’t enjoy a laugh with other people unless they take the time to engage with them. “It improves the quality of social interaction a person has with their friends, co-workers, and acquaintances,” Volpe says.

“The old saying is, ‘Laughter is contagious.’ If a person brings more laughter into their life, they can help others around them to laugh more and reap the benefits of humor, which in turns helps them with their problems. It makes other people happy, because it’s very infectious, just like anger is.”

“Everyone needs more laughter with the way the world is these days,” Volpe says. “Maybe a person can start by laughing at their own New Year’s resolutions list. For a lot of people it turns out to be a joke anyway. And it doesn’t have to be a new year to start a new day, or a new outlook, for oneself.”

About Volpe

Lee Volpe (www.LeeVolpe.com) is the author of Black Sheep Tries Bleach: Humorous Stories to Ease Life’s Growing Pains. After a short career as an actress, Lee found her voice as a humorist, and has never looked back.

Since 2011, she has been making a name for herself professionally as an honest, Laugh Out Loud (LOL) humor writer, dealing with daily life and relatable situations.

Applauded for saying what most are thinking, Volpe has the unique ability of finding wit in the way and amusement in the angle. Marcia Corbino of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune described Lee as “Erma Bombeck meets Sex and the City.”