Why not get some fun in your life

Dr. Julian Whitaker is one of my favourite wellness gurus. I take his advice on how to get my cholesterol down and how to retard the growth of cataracts.
I listen to what he says about a healthy diet, and I subscribe to his monthly newsletter called “Health & Healing: Your Definitive Guide to Wellness Medicine.”
Whitaker believes in a combination of traditional Western medicine and alternative solutions. And years ago, before alternative medicine came into its own, he already was writing on the subject.
Now more than 60 percent of adults use alternative medicine, and a recent study reveals that more than 70 percent of older adults use some kind of alternative therapy.
According to the study conducted by Gong Soog Hong, Catherine Montalto, and Vibha Bhargava at Ohio State University, nearly three out of every four adults over age 50 use some kind of alternative medicine.
Some use alternative medicine only as preventive, but some use it as curative, especially when traditional medicine doesn’t seem to help.
The most commonly-used form of alternative treatment was chiropractic and the least used was acupuncture. Other kinds of alternative healing therapies include herbs, special diets, vitamin therapy, massage, meditation, yoga, and prayer.
But Whitaker’s January newsletter had another suggestion: “Watching a funny movie is as effective at improving blood flow as exercising, and its positive effects last up to 45 minutes.”
We all know how important exercise is for our health. Now we also know that laughing has similar effects. In the 18th century, French writer and philosopher Voltaire said the same thing, “The art of medicine consists of keeping the patient amused while nature heals the disease.”
Laughter is known to reduce stress and lower blood pressure. Laughter also improves brain functioning, protects your heart, and enhances your immune system.
It even may help you get over a cold.
But most important of all, laughter makes us feel good. And feeling good about ourselves makes it easier to connect with others.
So why not follow Dr. Whitaker’s advice and rent a funny movie tonight to watch with your friends or family. If you don’t have a favourite, go to the website of The American Film Institute (AFI.com) or just type in “100 Laughs.”
There you will find a list of the “The 100 Funniest American Movies of All Time” selected by a panel of leaders from across the film community. Don’t expect to like all of these movies, but there surely will be some that fit your taste.
There are movies starring the Marx Brothers, Woody Allen, Charlie Chaplin, Bill Murray, and Spencer Tracy. Among my favourites are the classic “Bringing Up Baby” starring Cary Grant and Katharine Hepburn, the zany “What’s Up, Doc?” with Barbra Streisand, the musical “Singin’ in the Rain” starring Gene Kelly and Debbie Reynolds, and “The Odd Couple” with Walter Matthau and Jack Lemmon.
Laughing more is a positive choice you can make to improve your life and your health. If you don’t care for movies, play some games with friends, learn to tell jokes, or just free yourself to laugh at the slightest provocation.
Some way or another, get more fun in your life today.
Marie Snider is an award-winning health care writer and syndicated columnist. Write her at thisside60@aol.com or visit www.visit-snider.com

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