Catching up with Karyn

How Humor Can Help Your Heart Health

Steven looked down at his plate. There was some kale there, and a few colorful things his wife assured him were delicious peppers, and a piece of chicken only slightly larger than his business card.

"This," he asked, "is dinner?"

"Yes," his wife Stacey replied. "It's from the heart healthy cookbook your doctor recommended." For years, Stacey had been cooking up Steven's favorites: fried fish, fried potatoes, lots of cheeseburgers, fried cheese sticks. But she wanted to keep her hubby around a lot longer, and his heart attack had really scared her. So she was willing to change.

Steven, on the other hand, wasn't as eager. He looked at his plate and shook his head. "I'm not sure it's worth it."

Sound familiar? Making lifestyle changes can be a big part of your heart health routine. Altering what we eat, how much we eat, our levels of physical activity, giving up tobacco - these are all challenging things. Best of all, we're asked to make these changes at the same time we're supposed to...

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Dr. Suzanne Steinbaum Highlights Value of Humor for Heart Health in New Book

Heart health is a top priority for me. It's also a big worry for the millions of women out there just like me who know that heart disease is our #1 killer. More than cancer, more than diabetes, more than having your brain explode inside your skull when someone says, "Don't worry about it, Little Lady - it's a Man thing!", heart disease is killing us.

This is not a good thing. But there is good news. We're not powerless against heart disease. There are things we can do - choices we can make and actions we can perform - to reduce our risk of heart disease. And if we're at a point where we have heart disease - or we're precariously on the brink - making the right choices and changes can help us slow the disease's progression.

Dr. Suzanne Steinbaum presents a comprehensive overview of the positive changes we could be making to improve our health in her new Heart Book: Every Woman's Guide to a Heart-Healthy Life. I was particularly happy to see her emphasis on the value of humor for...

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A Change of Plans!

Well, folks, I'm afraid I have some disappointing news. The stars didn't line up in quite the way they needed to, and as a result the January 18th Vibrantly You Women's Wellness Seminar is being postponed to a future date. As soon as I find out more information about the new date, venue and speaker details, I will be sure to let you know.

Having your plans change can certainly be a stressor. Luckily, humor provides us with an all-natural, drug-free way to boost our emotional resilience - minimizing the impact of stress on our physical and emotional health. With that in mind, I offer the best joke I've heard all day to you:

Q: How does an octopus go to war?

A: Well-armed!

Want to boost the benefit you just got from that simple laugh? Share it with a friend. Try the 24-Hour  Humor Challenge: see how many people you can  make laugh - or at least groan! - with that joke (or anything else that makes you laugh!) over the course of the next day. You'll be surprised how much fun...

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Humor is Power: Leaders and Organizational Culture

Full disclosure: I have always found the traffic in New Jersey to be challenging. For as long as I can remember, the minute I got behind the wheel in the Garden State, something would happen to slow the journey way down. There have been the typical fender benders and weather-related snafus, of course, but there's also always been an added layer of strangeness to my particular journeys: one time, a tractor trailer full of tomatoes tipped over - we're talking marina sauce for miles! - and on another occasion, the delay was caused by approximately 75 million Justin Beiber fans en route to wherever it is 75 million Justin Beiber fans go.

But lately, there have been some traffic problems in New Jersey that have nothing to do with wayward produce or rock stars. As you may have heard, recent traffic problems in New Jersey may have had a political cause. On Friday, Governor Chris Christie held a long press conference in which he apologized for the traffic slowdowns, adding that the...

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Laughter: The Key To Living Longer, Better Lives Even When You Have Cancer

At age 25, Zora was diagnosed with Breast Cancer. The news wasn't exactly shocking - a strong family history had been a part of the reason Zora'd been so diligent about being screened, key to her early diagnosis. What did shock Zora was how completely Breast Cancer took over her life.

"All of a sudden, everything in my life -every decision, every aspect of my day - was centered around dealing with this cancer.  That's all anyone wanted to talk about," Zora said. "My co-workers, my husband, my family, my friends: it was totally overwhelming."

When a well-meaning colleague asked Zora what she could do to help, Zora said it was the last straw. "I just snapped, and said, 'Why don't we go do something fun and not even talk about my cancer at all!'" Much to her surprise, her colleague instantly agreed, and they went to the movies. "We saw We're The Millers and I laughed until I cried."

Coming out of the movies, Zora said, "I felt so good. It was probably the best I'd felt since...

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Headed to Chiberia: How Humor Helps Us Face Stressful Weather

Later this week, I'm appearing in Chicago, where things have been, as you may have heard, a little chilly lately. Just the thought of confronting sub-zero temperatures and the need to take precautions against frostbite is enough to stress this California girl out - but what can you do? Work still needs to get done, even when the weather's not cooperating.

Humor is power. It helps us build emotional resiliency, preparing us to better face things like -45 degree weather. I believe this. The research supports this. I tell people of all types - business leaders, nurses, health care systems administrators, students, teachers - how to use humor to prepare them to tackle even the most challenging thing.

But there's just one problem. I couldn't think of a single funny thing about extreme cold weather. Perhaps I had a frozen funny bone. It happens.

That's when I turned to my trusty friend, the Internet. At times like this, when you really need a laugh, Google Image Search is truly your...

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Two Days To Christmas: Past the Point Where Panic Helps You

48 hours out is when the freakouts start. There are two types of holiday freakouts.

The first one is exhibited by the Type A personality who started shopping way back in June, put up their decorations two minutes after Thanksgiving was officially done, and STILL haven't gotten everything they need to get to  make this holiday absolutely you know how hard it is to find purple sequined Santa hats in this world, people?

The second type of holiday freakout is exhibited by people who haven't started yet. Even though retailers have been pushing the message that Christmas is coming pretty well continually for 6 months now, these folks completely failed to get it. Christmas sneaks up on them, surprising them all at once with its imminent arrival.

Whichever type of holiday freakout you're currently experiencing, you can get over it faster with laughter. Smiles and laughs can diminish muscle tension.  They’re also contagious.  Practice wearing a smile to...

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Three Days Until Christmas: Get Sleep When You Can

One of our best tools for beating holiday stress is simply getting enough sleep. Don’t fill every minute trying to cram in 101 more things. Take a power nap so that you feel refreshed and ready to tackle the rest of the day.

When you sleep, you have more energy and are likely to be in a better mood than if you're overtired. This makes you a lot more fun for everyone around you. Be creative in searching out opportunities to grab a few ZZZZ's: even an extra ten minutes in the morning can be a tremendous boost to your holiday spirits!

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4 Days Until Christmas: Embrace the Power of Play!

Kids realize something that we have forgotten as adults: The power of play. Don’t take the holidays so seriously that you have no time to sing, dance, play—even jump on your bed! Make time to play everyday, even if it’s only for 30 minutes.

If you have kids around, grab them and head outside. If there's snow. make a snowman! If there's no snow, choose a more active game. Expending the excess energy the kids have stored up means they'll sleep better at night - great for your stress!

Play invigorates the body, challenges the mind, and lifts the spirit. If there's one gift you absolutely need to give yourself this holiday season, it's PLAYTIME!

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Five Days Until Christmas: Handling Holiday Traffic

The holidays mean gathering with our family and friends - and that means that unless you've recently purchased a teleporter, you're going to spend some time on the highway with lots of other people who have all promised that they'll be home for Christmas.

Talk about stressful!  If you get stuck in traffic, take this as an opportunity to reframe. Take a deep breath and visualize the person behind you - the guy compulsively honking his horn --  driving in his underwear.  Imagine the look on his face when he unwraps a sack full of coal and rocks.  At all costs, keep your sense of humor!

Airports can be stressful as well. Bear in mind that while humor can make the hassles of travel easier to bear, you want to exercise some judgement about when and where it's appropriate to joke. TSA agents, for example, are not well known for their sense of humor. This fact is not likely to change during the busiest travel days of the year!

Many of the frustrations of travel are...

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