Official blog for the book "Just Behind the Door"

Posts tagged ‘laughter’

The Best Christmas Gifts!

About this time in our rush to finish Christmas shopping we may begin to struggle with gift ideas for those hard to buy for friends or family members. We may have tapped out our resources and are beginning to get concerned about spending more money and for good reason. Did you know that the average family takes 2.6 months to pay off their Christmas bills? That fact helps to put things in perspective. Starting the new year with a mound of bills coming due places a lot of pressure on us yet we may think that a purchased gift is expected to show that we care. Maybe there is another way. If you are trying to come up with ideas for those last minute gifts which won’t break the bank here are six gift ideas that don’t cost a bundle yet can touch the hearts of those special people in our lives.

The Gift of Listening – without interrupting, daydreaming or planning your response you apply the skills of active, engaged listening to someone that really needs to be heard. No matter that you may have heard what they are repeating before you just honor their right for a caring ear when they need it most.

The Gift of Affection – being generous with hugs, kisses, pats on the back and words of encouragement help to remind the person how special they are to you and demonstrate the love you hold in your heart for them.

The Gift of Laughter – including a humorous article or reiterating a funny experience you had with them in a Christmas card or email tells the other person that you remember a special time when you brought out the laughter and joy in each other.

The Gift of a Note – taking the time to put in writing how you feel about the other person is a gift that just keeps on giving. Often, these words of love and appreciation are kept for a lifetime, reread throughout the year, and may even change a life.

The Gift of Something From Your Kitchen- whipping up a batch of cookies or brownies does not take an inordinate amount of time yet can help the other person who may not have an extra moment add a little something special to their holiday table.

The Gift of Time – setting aside 10 minutes to reach out and call someone to let them know that you are thinking of them warms their heart and tells them that you truly care. The positive energy they receive by hearing your voice can make their day.

We can purchase all kinds of things, wrap them in pretty paper and put a bow on top but the best – most valuable gifts – come from our hearts. Those kind remind the special people in our lives that they matter – that their presence in our life has meant something – that we are grateful for the shared journey. That message speaks louder than anything we can buy.

I offer my thanks to all of you who have read my blogs throughout the years. I hope I have been able to give you some food for thought from these postings. My next blog will be on December 31st. to usher in the New Year – stay tuned and have a wonderful Christmas!

Live, Laugh and Love Life

Don’t you just love to be around people that make you laugh? It seems to lighten our load and gives us a break from the constant mind chatter going on in our monkey brains. Realizing this, how many times in the past week have you had a good laugh over something? For those of us who have intense personalities and over scheduled lives we may be unaware of the importance humor plays in our own personal sense of well being. I read a quote recently from Gina Barreca, Ph.D. who said, “Humor is the one thing that fear cannot abide. Laughter banishes anxiety and can help replace fear.”

We know that laughter, even the simple act of smiling, can change the neurochemistry in our brains and cause us to feel better. Positive thought builds new neuron connections in our brains and we begin to feel more confident and hopeful about tomorrow. We can do this for ourselves by laughing often even about the smallest things in our lives. Sounds like a simple solution to me. Yet, sometimes we overlook the most simplistic of solutions thinking that there must be more to the story.

There is, in fact, a lot more to the story of achieving happiness. For many it takes a lifetime to realize that happiness is in, around and through us at all times just waiting to be encouraged to full bloom. It is not something external to buy or achieve but rather internal that you nurture to a radiant bloom in your personal garden of life.

All of us experience fears and anxieties. It just seems part of the human condition. Sometimes these feelings can rise to a fever pitch and we wonder if life will ever get any easier. One sure way to take a break from this tension and stress is to take a “laughter break” for a minute and remember that an ability to laugh at yourself or a circumstance along the way can help put things in perspective. Take a moment and think about the last time you truly laughed about something. How did it make you feel?

A regular dose of humor is important for all of us. It can be the salve that stops the itch of uncertainty or fear brooding below the surface. Movies, books, even an email forwarded to us of some outrageous circumstance are opportunities for laughter which increases our feelings of happiness. The human connection, engaging in a conversation with another person, is a great way to appreciate all that life has to offer as we smile, laugh and fully enjoy the moment together. Choose to give and receive the gift of laughter with others and everyone wins.. It doesn’t cost anything, is easily attainable and can be used repeatedly without worrying about the side effects. How much better can it get?

I believe in the quote, ‘laughter is the best medicine.’ Well, even if it’s not THE best it’s surely up there in the top 10! For a few days check your face in the mirror occasionally. Does your image look happy, hopeful and appreciative of the life you have created? As you check out your own level of happiness you may decide that you want more of it. Start by forcing, if necessary, a smile on your face from time to time, and give in to the urge to laugh at life. Not only will it increase your face value but you will begin to feel better overall. Sometimes we need to ‘fake it ’till we make it,’ that’s okay. Changing behavior starts with an intentional act that you choose to make in order to improve your life. It’s worth the effort.

Have a great few days!