They say laughter is the best medicine, and laughing might also help you live longer! It’s not just about putting you in a better mood. Other benefits include improving memory, decreasing stress and muscle tension, building social connections, and boosting your immune system. You can even burn calories—up to forty calories in just ten to fifteen minutes of laughing—and tone those ab muscles.
So get that laugh at least once a day. One study quoted a physician saying that he envisioned a day when doctors would prescribe fifteen to twenty minutes a day of laughing just as they prescribe thirty minutes of daily exercise. Hang around a funny friend as much as you can, watch a hilarious TV show or comedy routine, or pull up a belly-busting funny video on YouTube.
Mindless eating can lead to serious weight gain. To remedy this, follow the Japanese philosophy of eating until you’re 80 percent full by practicing “hara hachi bu.”
Weight often becomes tougher to manage as you age, especially if you’re not taking steps to prevent it, and wearing that weight is a visible sign of an aging body. That may be why society, in general, tends to view thinner people as younger and heavier folks as older.
One problem that often results in weight issues is mindless eating. People who eat without paying attention to what or how much they’re eating may end up eating past the point of fullness. Those daily eating episodes then begin showing up on the scale.
In the Japanese culture, though, people practice something called “hara hachi bu,” which essentially means eating until you’re about 80 percent full. That’s about the time when you feel some pressure on your stomach. Once you feel that pressure, it’s time to stop eating. You can make your mealtime experience last longer by taking smaller bites, chewing thoughtfully, and savoring the various flavors of the food you’re eating.