On Laughter

By Guest Blogger, Joy Lynn Okoye

Always laugh when you can. It is cheap medicine. — Lord Byron

There are moments where the stress, anxiety and chaos of our lives and/or in the larger world can overwhelm our senses and diminish our quality of life. Laughter can be a source for healing and strong medicine. Studies have shown that laughter can ease pain, increase immunity, and so much more…

 Here are three ways to bring more humor into your life:
  • Laugh at yourself more: The next time you say the wrong word, spill the milk, almost trip…become a comedian! Make it a humorous ordeal. If others are around you when it happens— they, too, will benefit from the comic detour.
  • Go to a Comedy Show or participate in a Comedy Improv workshop: Improv Comedy is full of hilarity…especially if it is live and you get to participate! Seek out local comedy clubs or workshops to experience ‘organic’ humor and creative geniuses in the making!
  • Just start Laughing! The easiest way to increase laughter in your life is to JUST DO IT! Fake it until you make it. Start laughing for laughter sake—and just stay with it until you are in a full belly laughter fit. If you can have a friend join you it’s even better! Laugh together. Make it a contest, an experiment, a new ‘wellness practice’. Become laughter buddies!

As you bring more moments of laughter and humor into your daily life, feel the happiness and joy within and share it with those around you!! Happy Laughing!!

Joy Lynn Okoye is an experimental movement artist, JourneyDance™ Facilitator, Integral Yoga Teacher, and Transformational Wellness Coach. She is the creator of Body+Mind+Soul Wellness Coaching™ programs and workshops which use JourneyDance™, creative arts, dramatic arts, and coaching techniques to bring forth a powerful environment for self-healing work.  Her current artistic project, Lumina (The Beauty Wound Project), is an interactive and partially improvisational dance performance project that was inspired by JourneyDance™ and celebrates the diverse beauty of women’s bodies in soulful expression (and the stories that go along with them).

Go Pro: The Benefits of Probiotics

There is a growing body of scientific evidence that suggests illnesses can be treated and prevented with foods and supplements containing certain kinds of live bacteria. Studies have shown that probiotics may have an impact on many health conditions such as allergic disorders, liver disease, and the common cold. Research from the U.S. Library of Medicine has shown that probiotics can provide relief from diarrhea and benefit blood pressure. They can also help with gastrointestinal issues such as irritable bowel syndrome and lactose intolerance.

Probiotics are considered safe as they are already present in a normal digestive system. However, as with anything else, it is wise to be cautious.  Always consult with a practitioner familiar with you and with probiotics to discuss this dietary addition.

One of the best ways to add probiotics to your routine is by eating them. Foods like yogurt and kefir are easily incorporated into a regular diet. Food in a brine like sour kraut and dill pickles provide a healthy supply of probiotics. Just ensure they are brined in water and sea salt and not vinegar. Other sources are sourdough bread, kimchi, miso soup, kombucha, tempeh, lassi, and microalgae.

Enjoy DIY (Do it Yourself)? Here’s a super simple, inexpensive way to make your own probiotic (fermented kraut):

Ingredients:  one head of green cabbage, one TBS salt

Directions:

Cabbage. Any head of green cabbage will do.

Wash or peel outer-most leaves, but DO NOT wash the inside. Those are the organisms we want.

Shred or chop the cabbage.

For each court, add 1 tablespoon of salt to one head of cabbage shredded. Manipulate, punch, squeeze the cabbage until when squeezed, a handful of water streams out.

Optional: add other vegetables like beets or seasonings such as caraway seeds, dill seeds, pepper flakes, or fresh herbs.

Fill a 1-quart ball jar with a handful at a time and with each addition press vegetables beneath brine with your hand, submerging each addition. The brine naturally forms as the cabbage is manipulated.

Leave 1 inch of headroom in the jar. Place it on a dish to capture overflowing juices.

Lay the lid on, but don’t screw it down.

Place the jar in a relatively warm part of the kitchen.

Twice daily, take a fork or spoon and press the vegetables beneath the brine so that the kraut doesn’t get moldy.

In a few days it will bubble and rise. Just keep submerging it twice a day.

When the bubbling subsides, it is fermented. Taste and decide if you want to put it in the refrigerator and start eating it or ferment longer.  Time makes it more sour and less crunchy.

Go Pro!

Finding Your Center

Many have heard phrases over the years like “find your center” and “ground yourself.” I don’t believe anyone actually ever explained what they meant, but I knew they involved going within.

It does help to know how these phrases translate in order to make this state of mind a tangible destination. So, here it goes… Centering refers to one’s mental or physical state. It means to calm your emotions, slowing your mind and your breathing to a point where you can “feel” a lot more going on around and inside of you. It is a state of relaxed alertness.

Have you centered today? Start right now. Sit up tall and lengthen your spine. Close your eyes and draw your awareness within. Begin to breath from your belly, letting it swell out on the in breath. Do this slowly 10 times, just paying attention to the breath. After you’re done, see if taking this brief pause has brought any shifts. Take note of them. Find a little space in your day to practice this. The results could well be illuminating.