Ask Dr. Julie / Health & Wellness / Managing Stress

April Fool’s Day May Not Be So Foolish Afterall

By Dr. Julie T. Chen, M.D.

Most people don’t think much about April Fool’s Day because it comes and goes and most of the time the jokes aren’t funny. Although I am also not a person who typically engages in April Fool’s Day pranks, I believe that the health lesson we can gain from this wacky holiday is that laughter and light-heartedness has a strong positive influence on our health.

From numerous epidemiological studies, we know that optimism and light-heartedness carries with it a positive effect on our health and most disease states. There are even disciplines of health therapies that involve laughter and music therapy. How we view things has a significant impact on our health…and so, healing modalities that help us feel happy and joyful also has tremendous positive impact on our health.

I see the benefit of joyful calming healing modalities on a daily basis because I do hypnotherapy as a part of my practice. With appropriate positive imagery, most patients leave the clinic feeling relaxed, rested, and more optimistic. The change in their energy and mood is palpable. They seem to walk taller and straighter with a smile on their face and ease in their step.

If we can actually see the benefits of joy and optimism on the body from the outside, can you imagine how much more impactful those qualities are for our body on the inside?

So, for this April Fool’s Day, I think that it’s more important to focus less on the pranks aspect of this holiday but rather on the light-heardedness inherent in the quality of this wacky holiday. Based on how important optimisim, joy, and happiness is on our overall health, perhaps we need at least one day a week to remind ourselves of the importance of laughter and joy.

So, instead of just one holiday a year to remind us of laughter and jokes, how about if we make a specific day of the week a reminder day for us to remember to be light-hearted and happy even amidst the chaos of a busy schedule. If we forget to intentionally incorporate laughter and joy into our days and only continue onwards with stress and hectic schedules, our body may at some point force us to slow down anyways.

So, let’s make it a priority to remember to laugh, de-stress, and be happy most days of the week. And if we need to mark a certain day of the week off as a ‘Happiness Reminder Day,’ otherwise we will be too inundated in our work to remember, then that’s what we need to do. Even if we might be too busy to laugh and have fun, our body needs it and if it goes too long without it, our body will eventually force us to slow down if we don’t do it preventively.

Dr. Julie T. Chen, M.D. an integrative medicine physician who is board-certified in internal medicine and is also fellowship-trained and board-certified in integrative medicine. She has her own medical practice in San Jose, CA, is the medical director of corporation wellness at several Silicon Valley-based corporations, is on several medical expert panels of websites as well as non-profit organizations, is a recurring monthly columnist for several national magazines, and has been featured in radio, TV, newspaper, and magazine interviews. She incorporates many types of healing modalities into her practice including, but is not limited to, medical acupuncture, Chinese scalp acupuncture, clinical hypnotherapy, strain-counterstrain osteopathic manipulations, and biofeedback. To learn more about Dr. Julie, you can check out her website at www.makinghealthyez.com.

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