Wellness Words April 2018

Wellness Words April 2018

HealthLink Littauer’sAlicia DeRuscio-Head


Submitted by Alicia DeRuscio, B.S.

Community Education Assistant


April Is National Humor Month

Is laughter really the best medicine? According to the American Heart Association, humor and laughing can actually help protect against developing heart disease!

Research from the American Heart Association suggests that laughter can: 

Decrease stress hormones – Laughing has been shown to decrease the stress hormone “cortisol” in your body.

Reduce stress and anxiety – By decreasing your stress hormones, laughing relieves feelings of stress and anxiety.

Reduce inflammation in the arteries – Laughing makes your blood vessels dilate, increases the amount of oxygen pumped through your body and reduces inflammation.

Increase HDL or “good” cholesterol levels – Research suggests laughter can help improve your cholesterol.

When you laugh, you can’t help but feel good and what’s even better – the AHA says the effects of laughing can last up to 24 hours!


The Cancer Treatment Centers of America claim that humor has both therapeutic and restorative effects on the body. 

They even use “laughter therapy” as a natural medicine for their patients. Laughter therapy is the use of humor to promote overall health and wellness.

By using this type of therapy, the Center’s staff can help relieve the physical and emotional stressors of their patients, and aid their healing process.

According to studies at the Cancer Treatment Centers of America, laughter can:

  • Stimulate the heart and lungs
  • Relax the muscles throughout the body
  • Trigger the release of endorphins or “feel-good” hormones
  • Ease digestion and soothe stomach pains
  • Improve mental function
  • Promote relaxation
  • Improve sleep
  • Enhance quality of life


So, what are you waiting for? Do your mind, body, and soul a favor by adding some humor to your life with these simple tips:

  1. Smile – Laughter always begins with a smile, and smiling is contagious!
  2. Be thankful – Make a list of all the positive things in your life and avoid negative thoughts as these act as a barrier to laughter.
  3. Make laughter a part of YOUR day – If you’re around others that are laughing, chances are that you’ll be laughing, too!

For more information on healthy humor, call HealthLink Littauer at 518-736-1120, email us at healthlink@nlh.org or visit our wellness center on 2 Colonial Court in downtown Johnstown.  We’re your community health & wellness service of Nathan Littauer Hospital and Nursing Home.

Wellness Words December 2015

HealthLink Littauer’sCarol Tomlinson-Head


Submitted by Carol Tomlinson, RN BS

Community Health Educator

It’s Your Life.  Live It Well!

Getting ready to make your New Year’s resolutions? According to the National Health Institute, by mid- February, 67% of these promises we make will no longer be a part of our daily lives. It’s not that we are weak willed – but more likely that we set ourselves up for failure by promising more than we can do.

Research has shown the key to good health is what experts call “lifestyle medicine.” It is about making changes you can live with. It is much easier to ask your mind to accept and act on small modifications, rather than try to make giant leaps in changing our behavior.

What is one area you would like to improve? You just need to pick one that is important to you. Here are some healthy lifestyle choices you may want to consider:

Move More

Don’t let limited or low level mobility stop you from making realistic goals. Get up and move when commercials come on, go for a walk, or take an exercise class for seniors. Many classes are gentle seated exercises designed to help with balance and prevent falls, as well as help you meet your exercise goals. Always check with your physician before starting anything new.

Eat Healthy

Say ‘no’ to dieting. Instead, resolve to eat a more colorful diet. Aim for 3-5 servings of veggies each day. Sound like a lot? Try the “5 Meal Deal.” According to NIH, eating 5 smaller meals a day can help you to stay healthy and energized, and is more likely to include more servings of fruits and vegetables. Need more fiber? Try making a small change such as substituting whole grain for white bread to start.

Drink More Water

It is important to stay hydrated. Often we confuse fatigue and hunger with thirst. As we age, the sensation of thirst declines but the need to stay hydrated remains. Try keeping a small bottle of water with you wherever you are. Take frequent sips.

Get a Good Night’s Sleep

Sleep is essential to health. If you have trouble sleeping, try one or more of these small changes. Don’t eat a large meal within 3 hours of going to bed. Set a routine time for going to sleep and waking each day. Stay away from TV, phone and computers for at least a half-hour before going to bed. Try different relaxation techniques such as deep even breathing. Count your blessings instead of sheep.

YOU hold the key to a healthier life! To make the changes you want remember to start small, be specific, and check yourself regularly to see if any changes need to be made to keep you going toward your goal.

Remember: It’s Your Life. Live it Well!

If you need help getting started or continuing on toward your goal, call HealthLink Littauer at 736-1120. You can e-mail us at healthlink@nlh.org, see our website at nlh.org, or visit our NEW wellness center at 2 Colonial Court in downtown Johnstown, Monday – Friday, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. We’re your community health & wellness service of Nathan Littauer Hospital and Nursing Home.