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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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Karyn's On The January Jones Show!

That's where you'll find me -Karyn Buxman, RN, neurohumorist, and author of What's So Funny About... Heart Disease?: A Creative Approach to Coping with Your Condition- sharing the latest research on humor and healing for the person who has heart disease.

Did you know that laughing for half an hour a day can reduce your bad cholesterol by up to 66%? When you have heart disease, cholesterol control is job number one. Enjoying humor doesn't replace conventional treatment or prescription medications - but it's a fun, free and effective way to make successfully managing your heart disease easier.

Listen to the January Jones interview here! If you like what you hear, don't forget to tell your friends about it on Facebook and Twitter. Sharing laughter is one way we can improve everybody's heart health!

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Humor and Healing: Laughing To Maintain Perspective

Humor is perhaps a sense of intellectual perspective: an awareness that some things are really important, others not; and that the two kinds are most oddly jumbled in everyday affairs. Christopher Morley

Whether you're dealing with a chronic health condition like diabetes or heart disease, are a caregiver for someone with those conditions, or are just trying to make it through life with less stress and more fun, humor helps. At times when we feel stressed out or overwhelmed (an exceptional set of circumstances I like to call a Typical Friday Afternoon!) it can be difficult to maintain a realistic set of proportion about what's going on in our lives. All of our problems and challenges become enlarged: all of a sudden, the fact that you've lost your phone charger is as catastrophic an event as you've ever experienced.

Rationally, you know that's not true. Losing a phone charger probably doesn't even  rate on your personal list of the 101 Most Terrible Things That Have Happened....

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What’s So Funny About Father’s Day?

Not sure what to get Dad this Father’s Day? The best present you can give is the gift of laughter, according to humor expert, author, and professional speaker, Karyn Buxman.

“Laughter improves our mood and lifts the spirit,” Karyn said, “and it can also make us healthier.  The latest research continues to reveal the many physical and mental health benefits that come from sustained laughter. Humor can help us lower our blood pressure, maintain healthier blood sugar levels, increase circulation, and manage stress more effectively.”

Buxman draws on her health care background as a RN to advocate for the use of humor as a tool in chronic disease management. “Diabetes and heart disease are at epidemic levels in this country, and older men – we’re talking about Dad here! – are being affected every single day.  Either they’re struggling with diabetes or heart disease themselves, or they love someone who is.”


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Humor: The Heart of the Matter

Scientists continue to support what we’ve known to be true since Biblical times: “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine.”  Studies in psychoneuroimmunology (PNI) have demonstrated that humor, laughter and positive emotions have a positive effect on the immune system, the respiratory system and now evidence shows a link between a healthy heart and a sense of humor.

A team of Maryland medical researchers found in a study of 300 people (half of whom had histories of heart problems) that people with heart disease were 40 percent less likely to laugh in humorous situations than those with healthy hearts.  “The old saying that laughter is the best medicine definitely appears to be true when it comes to protecting your heart,” said Michael Miller, director of the Center for Preventative Cardiology at the University of Maryland Medical Center.

The people with heart disease were much less likely to even recognize humor. They also laughed less, even...

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