The JOY of Laughter...

We all have times when we feel a little blue, a little ‘down in the dumps’, a little less joyful than we’d like to feel, right? Above and beyond those fleeting feelings, the holidays seem to trigger depression for many people for a myriad of reasons.

Did you know that the physical act of laughing can reduce stress? It is true! In fact, laughter has been proven to act as a healing force for major diseases such as cancer… just check out the story of Norman Cousins who truly laughed his way from critical illness to a long, pain-free life. His book, Anatomy of an Illness, chronicles his findings, but the long and short of it is that he was given a chance of living of 1 to 500 with debilitating pain. He refused to believe the diagnosis.

Norman Cousins began to watch old comedies – movies like the Marx Brothers and old tv shows like Candid Camera, anything that would make him feel good and laugh - - and the change his body experienced by the endorphins being released from laughter changed his whole chemical make up and he lived to be an old man – pain free. (That was a really short retelling of my understanding of Norman Cousins’ story… he was a remarkable man with such incredible insights on what is worth fretting over and what it is to live life fully… please do check out his story.)

But back to the holidays and how it makes me sad to think that there are folks who get depressed at this magical time of the year…

The Mayo Clinic lists the reason for holiday depression as this:

Their tips for dealing with this stress are here.
The holiday season, which begins for most Americans with Thanksgiving and continues through New Year's Day, often brings unwelcome guests — stress and depression. And it's no wonder. In an effort to pull off a perfect holiday, you might find yourself facing a dizzying array of demands — parties, shopping, baking, cleaning and entertaining, to name a few. So much for peace and joy, right?
Mental Health America has this take on holiday stress:
Many factors can cause the “holiday blues”: stress, fatigue, unrealistic expectations, over-commercialization, financial constraints, and the inability to be with one’s family and friends. The demands of shopping, parties, family reunions and house guests also contribute to feelings of tension. People may also develop other stress responses such as headaches, excessive drinking, over-eating and difficulty sleeping. Even more people experience post-holiday let down after January 1. This can result from disappointments during the preceding months compounded by the excess fatigue and stress.
I’ve decided that the best way to beat the holiday blues for those of you who may suffer this malady is to hunker down with a good UPLIFTING or FUNNY movie to watch!
I’ve been asking Twitter friends about their favorite movies and the list of what we’ve come up with is below.

If you’re feeling blue, rent one or two or twelve of these movies... and start your own New Year’s tradition... a tradition of feeling happy and good!
Our List of Uplifting and Fun Movies:

@AKSRichi Rudy
@HitsandMisses Elf with Will Ferrell
@Hollafoodzone French Kiss
@kjhwill72 The Princess Bride (see above)
@BigGirlEats League of Their Own
@FabFatties August Rush (and Rudy)
@ElizabethEv Waking Ned Devine and National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation
@Rewka The Sound of Music and Popeye (with Robin Williams) @HealthyGirlTips The Mighty Ducks
@NKCoverGrrl Leaving Normal
@AmyDabbs The Blind Side (currently in theatres)
@MarvelousMartha Facing The Giants
@bukubuffalo Love Actually and The Holiday
@sarahlashua Bridgette Jones Diary and The Holiday
@bluearkyprimite The Proposal!!!
@brittnycantero ELF! with Will Ferrell. handsdown!!! (see above)
@ginastark Dirty Rotten Scoundrels and All of Me
@GulfCoastArea Shrek the Halls
@lorenita327 The Hangover
@samsgirl02 Nothing to Lose and Just Like Heaven 
@CraftsWeekly Father of the Bride and Father of the Bride Part II HLG add: The original Father of the Bride w/Spencer Tracy and Elizabeth Taylor
I lost who tweeted these...  Finding Neverland  and Norma Rae

My personal favorites:

It’s a Wonderful Life
Finding Forrester
What About Bob
Under The Tuscan Sun
Slap Shot
When Harry Met Sally
Bridget Jones’ Diary
Chariots of Fire
Shirley Valentine
The Muppet Movie (@MollysMama28 agrees!)
Shawshank Redemption
Mr. Holland’s Opus
African Queen
Mary Poppins
Meet Me in St. Louis
The Odd Couple 
Heaven Can Wait
Young Frankenstein
Ghost Busters
Annie Hall

I hope your holidays are joyful and full of laughter!

Peace and love and JOY to all of us in 2010~