Why Laughter is the Best Medicine For Relationships

Laughter requires the movement of muscles, meaning your heart rate increases, and more oxygen enters our tissues. Laugh more, and you can exercise less because laughter burns calories.1 The release of endorphins that is caused by increased blood flow lowers stress levels. 2

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Avery is probably one of the funniest people I have ever met. I tell him multiple times a day that he’s not. Gotta keep his ego in check, ya know? He likes to make up his own lyrics to songs that are absolutely ridiculous. And he’s not afraid to be undeniably weird in front of me. I love that he’s able to be so comfortable with me. I think it definitely took some time for us to be completely relaxed in front of one another. It was nothing like “we were completely comfortable with each other right away” crap you hear all the time. While that may be the case for some couples, I would say a majority of us have some reservations when getting to know someone new.

LAUGHTER MAKES IT EASIER TO TALK TO ONE ANOTHER
Communication is so much easier when it’s not serious all the time with every single conversation. That’s not to say there isn’t a time and place to be completely serious, but most of the time, it’s way easier to talk to someone when you know you can be playful, yourself, and laugh at one another. Communicating your feelings with someone who has the power to hurt you emotionally is daunting. But knowing you can laugh and connect with them makes it easier when you have something serious to relay to them.

LEARN TO LAUGH AT YOURSELF
For the longest time, I was so uncomfortable laughing at myself. I have this self-conscious need to be flawless, or to appear so to others. I don’t like to fail, so it was hard to laugh at myself and my mistakes. With Avery, I wasn’t afraid to show him that I wasn’t perfect all the time. And he taught me that it was okay to laugh at myself every once in a while. And when you’re able to laugh at yourself, it doesn’t matter what others say about you. This is one of the best things that has come out of my relationship with Avery, and I thank God every day that he was able to show me how amazing it is that I’m not perfect.

CONNECTS US
What’s so funny about Avery and I is that we are very much the “opposites attract” couple. He is very outwardly personable, while I am an introvert through and through. He makes friends easily and I much happier not being put in situations of meeting new people. He likes to have a plan and stick with it. To me, having a plan is nice but things don’t always happen the way we want them to, and I am perfectly fine with that.
The one thing that brings us together as a couple is laughter. Anyone who doesn’t like to joke around with his or her significant other needs to find a new partner. Laughing is universal, and it allows us to connect with each other.

So laugh a little more, stress a little less, and know everything will be okay.

  1. http://www.webmd.com/balance/features/give-your-body-boost-with-laughter
  2. http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/in-depth/stress-relief/art-20044456

Working Out for the Unenthused

I ran for the first time last night in about four months. I didn’t run far, and I didn’t run fast. By the end, I felt like I was having an asthma attack. I’m writing this full of embarrassment. For over a year, I have been going through phases of running and then going weeks and months of not running and then deciding I want to start once more. I’m hoping one of these running phases never ends. So far, I have been unsuccessful.

I’ve never been gung-ho about exercising. At times, I’ve tried to convince myself that I am. It works for a while and then I decide I would rather gorge myself with ice cream and skip the gym, and do it again the next day, and the next day. And then soon, I find I haven’t been to the gym or exercised in months.

Back to the run I had last night, I went with Avery, who is far more physically adept than I. His long legs can easily run twice as fast as mine. So by the end of our run, he was breathing easy while I was huffing and puffing without the ability to speak for a couple minutes.

I know I’m capable of getting back in the game. I was once running up to three miles a day a few times a week. But I fell off the wagon because life happened, and I got busy. But I shouldn’t ever be too busy to be healthy. Diabetes and obesity and high blood pressure can be prevented in many cases with exercise and diet. (The diet thing is going to take some work.)

It’s all mental. Obviously telling myself that I’m enthusiastic about exercise and fitness doesn’t work because I know that’s a lie. I need to try something else like, “Exercise or you will lose ten years off your life span”. Or “Exercise now and you can live easier when you’re elderly.” And maybe one day I will grow to love fitness. For now, I will huff and puff my way back into daily exercise.

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Social Anxiety: Number One Reason Why My Dog Is My Best Friend

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I am shy. And I have social anxiety in certain situations. Even writing this post, knowing that others are going to read my words, makes me anxious. But it’s precisely why I’m doing it. I’ve always been more soft-spoken and for a long time, I thought I would always be that way. Of course just because I’m naturally more introverted and soft-spoken, doesn’t mean I’m destined to stay like this forever. And staying shy will not do anything for the anxiety I feel.

My anxiety stems from the fact that I feel every interaction I have with most people is that they are judging me. So I figure the less social interaction I have with people, the less they can judge me. That’s my logic. The problem with this is that I will always be saddled with anxiety because I cannot escape social interactions if I want to be a normal, functioning human in our society.

I also want to say that my social anxiety isn’t all consuming or off-the-charts bad. And I don’t feel it in all social situations. Talking to strangers is when it’s at its worst. Even group settings, in which I don’t know a lot of people, can set it off. It’s simply something I would like to grow out of. My social anxiety manifests by verbal withdrawal and loss of thought process. I also sometimes feel my heart rate increase, which of course only makes me feel only more anxious.

I’m writing this post because it’s something I want to move beyond. I don’t want to feel anxiety because I think people are judging me. One, I should not care if strangers are judging me. Two, I’ve had people tell me that they thought I was conceited or uptight because of my silence and shyness. So people are making judgments regardless of the fact that I don’t talk so obviously my tactic isn’t working so well. Three, I hate the feeling of anxiety. And finally, I just want to be able to make friends as easily as other people seem to. This is my first step towards living with my social anxiety in a healthier way. Wish me luck.

21: Year In Review

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Happy birthday to me. My husband made me breakfast and baked me some yummy brownies. He also bought us tickets to DisneyWorld for the end of the month when he graduates before we go back to Texas! Woohoo!

I don’t feel like a year has passed since my last birthday. But an entire 366 days have come and gone since I turned 21. And a lot of things have changed.

  1. I own a dog.
    Or a more accurate description is she owns me. She’s changed my life, and I don’t know what I would do without her snuggles or her incessant barking for attention. I’m obsessed with her and her crazy personality. She’s taught me responsibility and unconditional love.
  1. I graduated college.
    If I don’t want to, I never have to return to school again. It was tough and made me feel beat down some times. Getting to go to the best university in Texas was such an honor.
  1. I moved away from home for six months.
    Okay, it’s only been five, but it’s the first time I’ve been this far away for this long. Now, I know I can do it. (But I can’t wait to get back.)
  1. I’ve been married for a whole year now.
    People say the first year of marriage is the hardest, but so far, it’s been pretty easy. Of course, we haven’t had to go through the rough times that life tends to throw at you, but I have faith in us.
  1. I’ve learned that my health is important.
    Unfortunately, I cannot keep eating Whataburger everyday and stay healthy and fit. (This news has saddened me.) I’m not cutting out junk food entirely, but eating healthy isn’t hard or impossible. It’s baby steps. I’ve discovered that I love green beans. And tomatoes aren’t as bad as I thought. I just know I would rather get ahead of my health before it becomes an issue.

Even when you think your life has been on pause or not much has happened, you are constantly evolving and changing and making memories. It’s important to take a moment to reflect on that in order not to take anything for granted. I’m thankful for having been given another year of life. Looking forward to the next year and what it brings.