It’s fun to share a good laugh, but did you know it can actually improve your health? Read on to learn the powerful benefits of laughter.

Jeff Haden, in a 2020 Inc. Magazine article, suggested that, in times of uncertainty, we can regain our sense of purpose and direction by remembering the best compliment we’ve ever received. Not the grandest compliment, but “the compliment that spoke to a deeper meaning about who you try to be, what you try to do. One that has stuck with you because it went beyond the (however exceptional) superficial to strike a genuine chord inside.

That compliment reveals what truly matters to you — and what you need, especially in turbulent times, to stay focused on.”

I received one such…

It’s easy, and it’s free.

Benefits of journaling.

Keeping a journal has been a key habit of successful people dating back to the thirteenth century or even earlier. Long before the days of YouTube, blogs, and podcasts, famous visionaries like Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius, Marco Polo, Leonardo da Vinci, Albert Einstein, Mark Twain, Thomas Edison, and Winston Churchill, just to name a few, practiced jotting down their thoughts and daily musings.

There’s no guarantee that we will become famous, but there are a host of benefits we can get from keeping a journal. Journaling helps reduce stress, sharpens our memory, encourages goal achievement, increases well-being, and boosts our…

Spending time with friends builds resilience to stress.

Time with friends. Image: Shutterstock

We all experience stress from time to time. It is a natural response to life experiences. Daily responsibilities, like family or work, or a difficult health diagnosis, or even more serious news can trigger stress.

Advice from researchers, bloggers, and mental health professionals tells us to exercise, reframe our thoughts so that we relax our minds, write in a journal, watch a funny movie, laugh (a personal favorite for improving my mood and helping me cope with difficult situations), or listen to music to de-stress. All these practices are worth trying, so that we find the release we’re looking for.

Did you know that social support can help you feel less stressed, and it can actually improve your health and decrease mortality risk?

What is stress?

Stress is a natural reaction to life experiences, and it happens to everyone from time to time. Anything from everyday responsibilities like family or work to serious life events such as a serious illness or death of a loved one can trigger stress. …

Get out there and move.

Many people are into fitness these days, some for the weight loss benefits, and for others, it’s the cardiovascular fitness. But did you know exercise is one of the most important things you can do to combat stress? Read about the powerful benefits of incorporating more movement into your life.

Kerri-Ann Jennings, in a 2018 article, “16 simple ways to relieve stress and anxiety,” relayed that 70% of adults in the U.S. say they feel stress or anxiety daily. She lists exercise as the #1 way to combat stress.

People who exercise regularly, says Jennings, are less likely to experience…

Self-awareness is a critical tool to help you reach higher levels of job satisfaction, become a better leader, improve your personal and professional relationships, and manage your emotions better. It’s also positively correlated with higher levels of overall happiness. Yet, only 10–15% of the people are truly self-aware. Luckily, self-awareness can be practiced and cultivated. Read on to learn how.

What is self-awareness?

Self-awareness is the ability to focus on yourself and how your actions, thoughts, or emotions align with your internal standards. Being self-aware is not about identifying all of your faults, but about understanding your motivators, your impact, what you do…

Active listening. Image: Shutterstock
Active listening. Image: Shutterstock

Listening is not just hearing what the other party in the conversation has to say. Poet Alice Duer Miller said this about listening: “Listening means taking a vigorous, human interest in what is being told us.”

I’d be willing to bet you’re not listening as well as you might think. Sure, you might hear the other person, but a lot can get in the way of truly listening and receiving the speaker’s message.

Barriers to listening.

Listening is a critical leadership skill — without it we cannot be an effective leader. A barrier to listening is anything that is hindering you from recognizing…

What is happiness and how do I get it?

More than simply a “positive mood,” the definition of happiness is “a state of well-being, a sense of enjoyment in life, a sense of meaning and deep contentment.” A significant body of research also suggests that happy people have better physical health. Research tells us that feelings of positivity and fulfillment benefit cardiovascular health, our immune system, inflammation levels, and blood pressure, among other things. Happiness has also been linked to a longer lifespan a higher quality of life and well-being.

The happiness advantage.

Repetitive experiences of positive emotions can change the structure and function of the brain. …

Here’s what do do about it.

What doesn’t work: Suppressing Negative Emotions

A common approach to dealing with negative emotions is to attempt to suppress, avoid, or deny them. You probably know people who seem stressed, depressed, or anxious to you, but who don’t or can’t see it in themselves. Maybe you’ve tried to talk to them about it, to get them to open up to you, but that conversation when nowhere. People like this seem to act as if there is no problem at all, and they move on with life without dealing with their negative emotions. …

Three ways you can develop empathy and avoid job burnout.

Using empathy to increase well-being. Image: Shutterstock
Using empathy to increase well-being. Image: Shutterstock

Empathy defined

Empathy refers to the ability to recognize, understand, and share the thoughts and feelings of another person. Having empathy involves experiencing another person’s point of view, rather than just one’s own. Researchers generally define empathy an awareness of another’s emotions, coupled with the ability to imagine what someone else might be thinking or feeling.

People with high levels of empathy tend to having larger social circles and more satisfying relationships. In essence, being able to understand the perspectives, intentions, and needs of others is a significant requirement for being able to sustain lasting, in-depth relationships.

How empathy relates…

Dr. Robin LaBarbera

I write to provide research, insights, and practical tips for living well and thriving in our personal and professional lives.

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