May is HEALTH MONTH at the Gentle Traveler!

laughter health mayWhy? Because RIGHT NOW is the perfect time of year to think about turning over new leafs (in your backyard and in far-away places), getting into some healthy (and outdoorsy) kind of habits and giving yourself a little in-preparation-for-summer self-nurturing!

That gets me thinking…

What does it actually mean to be “healthy?” Is it just physical health we are talking about here? Just avoiding disease? Losing a few pounds? Can a person be in the best shape of their lives and still be miserable? And would this person be considered healthy?

My guess is that true health has A LOT more to do with that smile on your face, that spring in your step and that light in your eyes than it does how much you weight, what “condition” your doc may label you as having or how many supplements you take per day.

Of course, physical health and emotional/spiritual health often go hand-in-hand. Then again, I wonder what comes first for most folks?

Maybe it is like what Thich Nhat Hanh says: Sometimes your happiness is the cause of your smile and sometimes your smile is the cause of your happiness!

And this leads me to the perfect way to introduce the topic of health on this healthy travel blog:


Dr. Madan Kataria “The Laughter Guru”

Did you that May 1 was International Laughter Yoga Day? And that this week clubs all across the country and the world are celebrating the healing power of “the good guffah” and the “belly-busting laugh” all week?

Well, they are! And you can too! Talk about a healthy habit!

“Laughter Yoga” began in 1995 when Dr. Madan Kataria (“The Laughter Guru”) decided to meet with five people in a local park in Mumbai. Now there are thousands of Laughter Clubs in 100 countries worldwide!

The healing system of Ayurveda believes that staying healthy means nourishing the five senses every day in order to enliven our well-being as well as our health. Dr. David Simon, medical director of the Chopra Center in Southern California adds: ‘It’s just as important to cultivate our sixth sense─ our sense of humor!”

Of course, many studies have proven exactly what Dr. Simon is saying. Laughter can lower the production of stress hormones and can boost the immune system. It can also lighten depression, decrease anxiety and increase pain tolerance.

And we all have had this experience: Somehow we find the humor in a tough situation and suddenly we aren’t worrying so much about it. In fact, we may even see the situation in a new way and discover a new solution to our problem.

Such is the power of laughter!

Check out the link HERE to see if there is a Laughter Club near you. And if there isn’t or if you are on the go, guess what? You can still get your laugh on with the Skype Laughter Club. For 15-20 minutes, any time of the day or night, you can laugh with people all over the world. Check out what I mean here (this video itself will get you giggling):

In the meantime, here are some ideas that will get you smiling (and laughing) right away:

a.) Watch a funny movie
b.) Listen to an audio of a stand-up comic (confuse everyone on the freeway and listen while you are driving!)
c.) Blow some bubbles;
d.) Give hoola-hooping a try;
e.) Read a joke book;
f.) Play dress up with your kids or your neighbor’s kids;
g.) Color (with crayons!);
h.) Play fetch with a dog;
i.) Play “laser tag” with a cat.
j.) Have a snowball or pillow fight;
k.) Make funny faces in the mirror;
l.) Share a hilarious family story (one where you are the butt of the joke is the best!)
m.) Play a practical joke on a friend who can take it;
n.) Host a game night!



Do you have a favorite way to get your laugh on? Tell us about it in the Comments section below!