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Catching up with Karyn

LMAO—Literally!

Does this blog post make my butt look big?

The “Average American” (I’m still trying to find that person!) gains about one and a half pounds of fat a year between ages 25-60. Bummer! Not only does this lead to a number of health issues—it’s costly, it’s depressing, and it’s definitely not helping our self-esteem. If you’re like me, you are searching for ways to laugh your, ummm, your butt off—literally.

A 15-minute laugh burns 10-40 calories. Okay, so that’s not as much as an hour of spinning might get you. But how consistently are you spinning? Or running? Or swimming? Or shaking those hips at Zumba?!

15 minutes of laughter doesn’t require any coordination. Or a membership fee. You don’t have to leave the comfort of your home. Or your room. Or your chair. (You can do it in a house. You can do it with a mouse. You can do it in a boat. You can do it with a goat. You can do it here or there. You can do it...

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Replacing Your Stress Habit: Jest for Stress

We’re cruising down the highway on a sunny California afternoon—the sparkling ocean to our left, the picturesque mountains to our right—then as we come around a curve we see motionless cars stretching for miles and miles ahead of us.
“Shoot! Dang!” cried my husband. (Okay, so those weren’t his exact words. Hey, I want to keep this article rated PG-13!)

His knuckles whitened around the steering wheel, his jaw tensed, his muscles stiffened. “Look at this frakkin’ traffic.” (Note: He actually did use the word “frakkin’.”)

The sight of a traffic jam sent him immediately into a stress response. But I reminded him that we had plenty of time to get to our destination, we had plenty of gas, we had food and drink in the car (and neither of us was in need of a bathroom break!). So rather than fume about traffic I pulled out my phone, and played several episodes of a show that we both find hysterical (Cabin Pressure, a BBC...

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Humor May Be Hazardous To Your Illness

Many of you may be too young to recall the story of Norman Cousins. The 60-second version: When diagnosed with a degenerative disease (ankylosing spondylitis) he checked himself into a hotel across the street from his hospital, and with the support of his doctor and his friend, Allen Funt (Host of Candid Camera-are you too young to remember that, too???), he basically laughed himself into remission. He wrote a book about his experience, Anatomy of an Illness, and a new era-psychoneuroimmunology began.

Scientists began to study the healing power of humor and validate that there really is truth to the saying, "Laughter's the best medicine." Benefits to your cardiovascular system, your respiratory system, your musculoskeletal system, your immune system, your endocrine system, your nervous system, your digestive system-the evidence grows leaps and bounds daily! But here's my suggestion: Don't wait for further proof. Do a little self-experimentation. Incorporate humor into your daily...

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Lead with Levity: An Interview with Dr. Bob Dent, DNP, MBA, RN, NEA-BC, CENP, FACHE

Dr. Bob Dent is the Dean of Health Services for Midland College, as well as the VP of Patient Care and Chief Nursing Officer for Midland Memorial Hospital, which is located in Midland, Texas. He’s one of those impressive individuals who has more characters in the abbreviations of his professional accomplishments than most of us have in our actual name!

But his accomplishments aren’t just a result of his education, or his certifications. Dr. Dent’s caring, compassion, and charisma exude through his easy-going style and sense of humor. I’ve had the privilege of watching Dr. Dent during a visit to Midland Memorial and seen first-hand his mastery of leading with levity: setting the tone for fun while at the same time setting high expectations of his staff.

The result? They’ve achieved ANCC's Pathway to Excellence—twice! They are enthusiastic about their path on the ANCC Magnet Journey. Patient satisfaction scores are high and continue to climb, and...

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In Loving Memory: Dr. William Fry, Jr.

How do you say goodbye to someone who has not only touched your life, but touched the world? When I saw the return address on the envelope in my mail this morning, I immediately knew. It’s been over a year since I’ve heard from William (Bill) or (daughter) Susan. But July is not the time they’d be sending a Christmas card. I intuitively knew that Susan was writing to tell me that her dad (my friend and colleague) had passed away.

My mind was immediately flooded with selfish memories—and guilt. I’d visited Bill about a year ago, and I had planned to go again this spring. But I was busy. Too busy to go see someone who meant the world to me.

The world knows William Fry as a renowned psychoneuroimmunologist who was a pioneer in the field of applied and therapeutic humor. His scientific studies on humor and laughter are too numerous to mention here. But his thirst for knowledge, his dedication to science, and his love of humor led him to be one of the most...

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Sinclair School of Nursing Awards Karyn Certificate of Merit

I know I sound like Sally Field when I say, "You like me! You really like me!" but I've got to tell you, that's absolutely how I felt when I got the news that my alma mater - the Sinclair School of Nursing, my beloved Mizzou - has decided to honor me with a Certificate of Merit. Thrilled doesn't even begin to express my emotional state - it's awesome, inspiring, and humbling all at once.

Nursing school changed my life. You walk into those classes thinking you know a little something about health care - and then your eyes are opened to all the amazing, amusing, and yes, awe-inspiring things that nurses do every single day.  The lessons I learned while working on my Master's at Mizzou have served me well, through every day of my nursing career and beyond.

The research I was able to do in those early days, my first tentative explorations into the connection between health and humor, were successful and bore fruit due to the encouragement and support I received at that time....

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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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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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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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