Danita's Dish: Don't sweat it - laugh it off

CLEVELAND - I bet you could list a million things that are negative, wrong or irritating you right now. We tend to focus on what we don't have in life instead of being grateful for the things we "do" have. There will always be things we can point out that we need to improve upon, but I would like to suggest that you point to what's going well for you.

As long as you're living there will always be crazy days, Murphy's Law moments, and "why did I bother to get out of bed" mornings. Yes, I know it feels right to give in to the emotion and scream and yell at the person who just cut you off on the road. Yes, I know it feels natural for you to cry after you just finished mopping the floor and the kids trek mud all over it.

These are real life situations. But try putting it in perspective. In the whole scheme of things, they're small. I didn't say insignificant. I said small things. These are two examples of small situations that have big effects on our bodies. The blood pressure goes up to unhealthy levels, the eyes turn red,  and you begin to feel a myriad of negative emotions. Not good.

So don't sweat it. Laugh at it.

Laughter is good for the soul. But it's hard to laugh when you're really ticked off about something. In the examples I gave, there's nothing you can do about somebody cutting you off, so don't linger in "I should give you the 'bird' land." The floor that was once clean is now dirty again. No problem, hand your kids the mop and make them clean it up. It can be fixed.

Laughter increases your heart rate, brings more oxygen to your tissues, and you exercise the muscles in your face in a positive way. And get this, 10 to 15 minutes of laughter can burn 50 calories. How's that for a weight loss tip. Laugh away the pounds.

Sometimes it's just not worth getting all worked up over things you can't change. Better yet, don't stay tense and angry over things that can be changed. There's a book called "Don't Sweat the Small Stuff." But that's exactly what a lot of us do. And the truth is all the worrying and stressing that we go through does absolutely nothing to change the situation.  So don't sweat it. Laugh at it.

Doing daily live television has taught me to embrace this philosophy.  I'm not 100 percent with it, but I really try not to stay in "stress land" when shows don't go well. I attempt to find my "happy place" and bloom where I am planted. Trust me, there are many times I feel the angry bird sitting on my shoulder. Instead of giving in to it I take a deep breath and I begin to tell myself I can deal with it and I will be fine.

Guess what happens when you continue to practice that line of thought? You will be able to laugh about the things that used to get on your nerves. Laughter releases endorphins in your body. They are the good guys. I mean that literally. They make you feel good.

So here are some more reasons to bring laughter into your life.

If you want to relax, laugh a little more. Laughter relaxes your muscles for up to 45 minutes after you've stopped cracking up about something.

Have you been sickly? Take a dose of laughter and email in the morning. Laughter increases immune cells so it improves your resistance to disease.

Forgetful? Laugh more. Laughter increases your memory.

Life is short and stress can always find it's way to your doorstep. So the next time it comes knocking, answer it with a hearty laugh and watch it go away.

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