Happy New Year!  2017 will be a fabulous year for us all!

It is hard not to get excited about a new day, a new event, a new idea…

With the hectic holiday season behind us, we can focus on ourselves and in starting the new year feeling at peace inside and out. One very effective way to center ourselves and bring us into balance is to sit still and breathe.

A meditation technique called mindfulness-based stress reduction has been known to reduce loneliness and even chronic inflammation. In a study, the mindfulness technique encouraged participants not to dwell in the past or in the future, but be attentive to the present. Study participants meditated for approximately 30 minutes a day. This research was published in the journal Brain, Behaviour and Immunity.

Other studies show the wide-ranging health benefits of laughter. A Vanderbilt University study estimated that just 10-15 minutes of laughter a day can burn up to 40 calories. Meanwhile, a University of Maryland study found that a sense of humor can protect against heart disease.

“There are several benefits to humor and laughter,” explained Gurinder S. Bains, a Ph.D. candidate at Loma Linda University, who co-authored the study. “Older adults need to have a better quality of life. Incorporating time to laugh, through social interaction with friends, enjoying exercise in a group setting, or even watching 20 minutes of humor on TV daily, can enhance your learning ability and delayed recall.”

Now that we know the added benefits of meditation, breathing, being aware and in the present and laughter, I hope we can focus on this for the new year so we can remain strong, mindful and positive. I have found that simply breathing can be calming and soothing. And laughing makes us focus on the good.

So let’s please breathe deeply, laugh frequently and love unconditionally this 2017!

Thank you and have a great year!

Kensington Sierra Madre Executive Director CC Degraff headshot

-CC DeGraff, Executive Director

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