The Benefits Of Laughter For Your Brain And Body

  1. Laughter releases feel-good endorphins into your system, which actually decreases pain and significantly increases pain thresholds.
  2. Laughter can help protect your heartby increasing blood flow and improving the function of blood vessels.
  3. Laughter relaxes your whole bodyfor up to 45 minutes after a good laugh.
  4. Laughterlowers blood pressure and stress levels.
  5. Laughter can increase intimacy and improve relationships.
  6. Laughter can reduceanxietystress, and depression.
  7. Laughter increases the number of T-cells in your body and boosts your immune system.



How To Use Laughter To Improve Your Mental Health


The use of humor has proven effective in formal therapies for serious mental conditions. Other therapeutic practices incorporating laughter have popped up over the last decade, like laughter yoga. You can include laughter in your daily mental health routine to help ward off depression and stay balanced or just spontaneously whenever your mood needs a lift.


Some ways to do that are:


Keep an eye out for the silly side of life.

Try to intentionally notice the silly, unexpected, or funny stuff in your daily life. Savor it, think about it and commit it to memory for when you need a laugh in the future. The most recent time I can remember laughing really hard – I mean tears-rolling-down-my-cheeks-hard – was when my son and I were plunging a stopped up toilet. Who knew those circumstances could be a side splitter?

Reframe unpleasant situations with humor.

Try to see the humor in an otherwise unpleasant or embarrassing situation. So, you knocked over your wine glass with an overly demonstrative hand gesture on a first-date dinner (which I totally would do.) Well, at least you made an impression! Or, maybe you farted in yoga class. Oops. You’re not the first one to ever do that and isn’t it just a little bit funny?

Tickle yourself.

Unfortunately, you can’t physically tickle yourself. Research shows that your brain needs tension and surprise for tickling to work — which you obviously don’t have when you try to do it yourself. Laughter is also almost impossible to control consciously. It’s very hard to laugh on command. You can, however, tickle your own funny bone by watching your favorite funny movies, videos, or television shows.

For the Love of Napping

More and more researchers are coming to an important conclusion about our sleep patterns: napping, it turns out, may be in our DNA.

That’s good news for many of us who are already dedicated nappers. Dividing sleep in a day’s cycle is called bi-phasal sleeping, and it makes sense when you think about it. No other mammals try to get all of their required sleep in one extended period, and then stay awake continuously for the second part of the day. Our most logical assumptions about ancient humans suggest that rest periods needed to be divided, even staggered, for the safety of the family group or tribe. Even today, in modern hunter-gatherer societies, there is usually time set aside in the middle of the day for rest. Before the advent of industrialization and the contemporary workday, this mid-day rest period was standard, and it is still maintained in some cultures. In fact, the word siesta derives from the Latin sexta, designating the sixth hour of the day, or noon, which was—and still is in many places—set aside for the day’s largest meal followed by a period of rest of which napping has frequently been an important part.

The typical sleepiness most of us feel after lunch has often been attributed to the meal itself. It was assumed that eating slowed people down and made them feel lethargic. Yet research shows that those who do not eat around noon, or else eat small meals at midday, still tend to have a dip in energy in the early afternoon, usually between 2:00 and 4:00PM. New evidence indicates that this lull is natural and part of our circadian rhythms—the pattern that our days take according to our awakeness and productivity versus our need for rest and recovery.

And recovery is important. Sleep science, including studies of napping, has brought new awareness to just how critical sleep is to our bodily and mental health. While many of us can easily get on board with a good night’s sleep, it can prove more difficult to admit the importance of a nap. In our society today, there is still a stigma of laziness attached to nappers. It should be acknowledged that this is likely what almost every human would do if afforded the luxury of sitting still in the early afternoon. Even as we age and we have time to give into our body’s sleep rhythms, many of us feel guilty about napping.

With the many benefits of napping, there are nevertheless some cautions we should be aware of, as well as instructions on how to nap most effectively.
Napping may be counter-productive if it interferes with nighttime sleeping, either falling asleep or staying asleep. If you find yourself unusually tired or uncharacteristically fatigued, there may be larger issues for a doctor to address. Importantly, one study has linked napping with increased risk of heart failure in people already at risk.

Most experts recommend that we nap in the early afternoon, sometime around 2:00 to 3:00 PM. However, this depends also on how long one has already been awake. Early risers can adjust accordingly, and vice versa. We should always take into consideration at what time we naturally tend to feel sleepier. Moreover, naps should be 10 minutes to around 40 minutes long, with 20–30 minutes designated as the perfect amount for most people. Anything longer can result in what is called sleep inertia, which is that grogginess we experience after a nap that can seemingly last for the rest of the afternoon. Though some grogginess is expected upon waking from a nap, we should be clear-headed and alert within a few minutes to a half hour after waking.

There are a number of things that can be done in order to facilitate falling asleep quickly and waking up easily within the designated time. Making a regular time for a nap in your schedule helps the body establish a recognizable rhythm. Finding a comfortable, cool, and darkened space may help you to relax. A mental relaxation exercise or 5-minute meditation may quiet the mind, allowing your body to relax into sleep. Resources including audio recordings are abundantly available online and in libraries and bookstores. Setting a timer lets you know when it’s time to get up. From there, it may be a matter of conditioning yourself, which may take practice.

So, go ahead and nap! And know you are in good company. Some of the greatest minds in history were nappers. Leonardo da Vinci took multiple naps a day to make up for less sleep at night. Albert Einstein, by contrast, slept 10 hours a night and took a daily nap. Though embarrassed by his need for naps, Thomas Edison did so every day, and John F. Kennedy took his lunch in bed followed by a nap every day. Others who jealously guarded their daily naps include Napoleon, Winston Churchill, Ronald Reagan, and John D. Rockefeller.


(as written on


If everyone knew the benefits of napping, perhaps attitudes would change.

Here is a list of just a few positive effects of napping:

  • Napping restores alertness, which increases performance, mental agility, and reduces mistakes and confusion.
  • Napping after learning something new increases the chance that you will be able to remember it up to five times, according to German scientists. During sleep, our brains have a chance to build new neuro pathways, which forge memory.
  • Napping can balance hormones and blood sugar while reducing food cravings, especially for sweets.
  • Napping can reduce stress. The health benefits of stress reduction, as more and more science supports, are incalculable. Cortisol levels drop, the heart and lungs regulate, inflammation decreases, and so on.
  • One study has shown that nappers have a decreased coronary mortality rate than those who did not nap.



(Know what you owe—and what you don’t)


Almost everyone dies owing at least some debt.  Sometimes it’s only last month’s ordinary bills plus final medical expenses.  But there can be shocking surprises for survivors—debts unknown to the children and even to the spouse of the deceased.  Heirs might discover large credit card balances, undisclosed home equity loans or gambling debts.

Creditors are entitled to payment, from the money and property (the “estate”) that your loved one left behind.  But what if he or she didn’t leave enough to get everyone repaid? Can the creditors come after you?

Sometimes yes, sometimes no.  With loans secured by property, such as mortgages, an heir has to keep up the monthly payments or else sell the property to cover the debt.  Unsecured loans, such as credit card debt and student loans, are another matter. Your liability depends very much on the nature of the bill, the type of property and your state’s laws.  But here’s what I can say, generally.

  • Some money is protected.  At death, unsecured creditors cannot collect from life insurance payments, pay-on-death bank or brokerage accounts, jointly held property that passes directly to the surviving owner, or retirement plans such as 401(k)s and IRAs that have named beneficiaries, says IRA expert Ed Slott of  they’re safe—but only if they were handled right. By “right”, I mean that the deceased filled out a beneficiary form for each account, naming the people who were to inherit. If this step was skipped, the funds will be paid into the estate, where they can be used to satisfy the creditors.
  • Your signature matters.  If you signed a joint application for a credit card, you owe the balance, even if you didn’t know how high it had grown.  If you were merely an “authorized user,” however, most states don’t require you to pay. (Note that authorized users shouldn’t use the card after the owner dies if the estate is broke.  Such spending could be considered fraud.) Spouses are generally not liable for any separate debts their mate incurred before the wedding or, in most cases, after.


Rules in community property states, such as Texas or California, are different.  Your community property can generally be tapped to pay a spouse’s debts. But creditors can’t take your separate property.  In any state, you’ll still owe any private debt you cosigned with the deceased, such as a student loan. Some private student lenders will forgive the loan, but most won’t.  

  • You have to pay the doctor.  Final medical bills are usually considered a spouse’s responsibility.  If your mate entered a hospital, the admission papers you signed probably included a payment agreement.  When there’s no money, however, and the survivor has very little income, health providers might write off the account.  
  • Get tough.  Don’t be talked into making a few payments on bills you do not owe.  Creditors might claim that you willingly assumed the debt. Tell them, “No, no, never.”  You know your rights.


(written by Jane Bryant Quinn, a Personal Finance Expert, for AARP Bulletin, September 2018)

How to Keep the Car Keys

When it comes to staying safe on the road, this is a good time to be an older driver.

Today’s older drivers are involved in fewer crashes per mile traveled than those in prior generations.

This positive trend comes as the number of drivers who are 70 and older is increasing.  One reason for fewer fatalities: Vehicles are safer than ever. “Side airbags have been standard on the majority of new vehicles since the 2008 model year, and we are seeing the benefits of improved side-impact protection in the crash data, especially for older drivers,” says Jessica Cicchino, IIHS vice president for research.  “Today’s older drivers are walking away from crashes that might have killed their grandparents.”

READ THE WARNING SIGNS…So how do you know if it’s time to give up the driving….?

  1. Do you frequently have difficulty reading street signs and seeing street markings?
  2. Does driving leave you feeling anxious and stressed?
  3. Have friends or family members expressed concern regarding your driving, or said they don’t feel safe with you behind the wheel?
  4. Do you have difficulty with certain physical requirements of driving?  For example, do you have trouble looking over your shoulder when changing lanes?
  5. Are you currently taking medication that causes drowsiness or otherwise impedes your ability to drive?

(by Warren Clarke for September 2018,

Honey-Garlic Slow Cooker Chicken Thighs


  • 4 skinless, boneless chicken thighs
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup ketchup


  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil


  1. Lay chicken thighs into the bottom of a 4-quart slow cooker.
  2. Whisk soy sauce, ketchup, honey, garlic, and basil together in a bowl; pour over the chicken.
  3. Cook on Low for 6 hours.

Printed From 10/29/2018


Life, like a chunk of granite, only takes shape when you — the artist of your life — decide what to make of it. With many experiences and milestones already collected in your past, the New Year is a good time to take stock and see what shape your life and your legacy are taking.

Some people view their legacy as something material – a house they built by hand or a building they designed, a book they wrote, a major gift they gave or financial security they’ve achieved for their family. For others, it’s accumulative: a long career at a business or university or in a specific field of endeavor where they will be remembered for changing the status quo. For still others, it’s more personal and emotional – managing a family thru life’s ups and downs or collecting wisdom and knowledge to be shared with future generations

A survey conducted by 60 Minutes and Vanity Fair explored how different people view “immortality.” Respondents were asked, “Which would you like most to be named after you?” Choices included a grandchild, a street in your hometown, and a pew in your church, a national holiday, or a rest stop along a highway. (Admittedly, not the only or even the best choices.) The most popular response – by far — was a “grandchild.”

A legacy doesn’t just have to happen to you. You have choices about that, too, if you don’t wait too long to begin shaping it and defining it.

Here are some suggestions collected from experts about how to take stock of what matters most in your life and how to make sure others see it the same way.


To think through what makes you unique, try one of these exercises:

  1. Write the title and introduction of your (hypothetical) autobiography.
  2. Start a running list of your preferences in all categories you can think of: food, entertainment, politics, activities, friends, charitable causes. The list forms a composite profile of what makes you YOU.
  3. Write a new resume – but not just about the professional you. Include all the “roles” you’ve managed and mastered in your life.
  4. Prepare the eulogy you’d like to be delivered in celebration of your life.
  5. Interview yourself. Find an interview with a celebrity you think hits some important topics and ask yourself the same questions.
  6. When you’re clear about how you’d like your life to be interpreted, write it down. A letter to your children or best friend. A brief summary of your life story, complete with your life philosophy or lessons you’ve learned. Even your own obituary. This exercise serves a double purpose. Putting your legacy in writing and giving it to someone you trust, improves the likelihood that others will see you in that light, too.


9 of the biggest problems baby boomers are facing right now

  • Baby boomers were born in the prosperous years following World War II.
  • As they age, they are now facing financial, health, and economic challenges.
  • Some of their most pressing problems are saving enough for retirement and caring for elderly parents.


  • Baby Boomers are facing a slew of challenges.
  • Boomers, or those born from the 1940s to the 1960s, grew up during the prosperous post-WWII years. But as they inch closer to retirement, a slew of financial, health, and economic challenges are starting to plague many in the generation.

Though people say they’re happiest when they get older, many baby boomers feel pressured to work longer to support themselves or, if unable to work, are worried about outliving their savings.

Not only do boomers have to think about their own retirement plans, they also have to care for their elderly parents — which can have an emotional cost in addition to the financial cost.

Boomers might be thinking about or currently paying their parents’ medical bills, nursing homes, or live-in nurses, or even considering having their parents live with them as they get older.

Just like boomers need to make plans for their parents, they will also need to figure out who will be taking care of them as they get older.

This might involve figuring out plans with their children, or saving enough money for medical bills or even a nurse.

The oldest boomers are in their early 70s today. For some, current health issues get in the way of planning for retirement.

Boomers will enter their senior years with “higher rates of obesity and diabetes and lower rates of very good or excellent health status, putting significant strain on our healthcare system,” a 2016 United Health Foundation study of the health of senior Americans found.

Not only are some boomers facing health issues, but they are also seeing rising healthcare costs.

Healthcare costs have risen by significantly more than costs for everything else in the United States over the last several decades, which is illustrated in the chart above.

Just 23% of baby boomers think that their savings will last through retirement or that they have done a good job preparing for retirement, according to a survey by the Insured Retirement Institute, a trade association for the retirement industry, from earlier this year.

Only 54% had any retirement savings at all, and only 40% had tried to calculate how much money they would need to retire.

Some older Americans are working around the problem of not having enough savings by staying employed far into their 70s, at least in part-time positions. But working longer is not a realistic option for every person.

Physically demanding jobs are often difficult for older workers, and learning a new skill could be a difficult challenge.

The job market is in a transition period in which many roles are being automated, especially in manufacturing firms.

For those who lose their job at an older age, it is not always easy or financially possible to learn new skills or return to school. This trend is especially problematic for boomers who are not yet of retirement age.

Since baby boomers are living longer, people who plan to retire in their mid-60s to early 70s need to have enough money saved up for a decade or two more than they might have in the past.


October Is National Financial Planning Month

Saving is a great start, but planning to reach your financial goals is even better.

Are you saving for retirement? Great. Are you planning for retirement? That is even better. Planning for your retirement and other long-range financial goals is an essential step—one that could make achieving those goals easier.

Saving without investing your savings isn’t enough. Since interest rates are so low today, money in a typical savings account barely grows. It may not even grow enough to keep up with inflation, leaving the saver at a long-term financial disadvantage.

Very few Americans retire on savings alone. Rather, they invest some of their savings and retire mostly on the accumulated earnings those invested dollars generate over time.

Investing without planning usually isn’t enough. Most people invest with a general idea of building wealth, particularly for retirement. The problem is that too many of them invest without a plan. They are guessing how much money they will need once they leave work, and that guess may be way off. Some have no idea at all.

Growing and retaining wealth takes more than just investing. Along the way, you must plan to manage risk and defer or reduce taxes. A good financial plan—created with the assistance of an experienced financial professional—addresses those priorities while defining your investment approach. It changes over time, to reflect changes in your life and your financial objectives.

With a plan, you can set short-term and long-term goals and benchmarks. You can estimate the amount of money you will likely need to meet retirement, college, and health care expenses. You can plot a way to wind down your business or exit your career with confidence. You can also get a good look at your present financial situation—where you stand in terms of your assets and liabilities, the distance between where you are financially and where you would like to be.

October is National Financial Planning Month—an ideal time to plan your financial future. The end of the year is approaching and a new one will soon begin, so this is the right time to think about what you have done in 2018 and what you could do in 2019. You might want to do something new; you may want to do some things differently. Your financial future is in your hands, so be proactive and plan.



1. Plan a weekend getaway with some of your closest friends.

2. Discover a new lake and spend the day fishing, boating, etc.

3. Go to a state park.

4. Spend a weekend camping with your family.

5. Watch a fireworks show.

6. Go kayaking, canoeing, and tubing.

7. Go to a local festival.

8. Go to a concert or music festival.

9. Go to a Major League Baseball game.

10. Find a new hiking trail and explore it for the day.

Some places to go:

Lancaster, Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania Dutch Country, better known as Lancaster, Pennsylvania, is an idyllic
place to visit during the harvest season. There are apple orchards ripe for the picking,
corn mazes that hearken back to a simpler time and farmers markets bursting with
homemade baked goods and fresh produce. And just 30 minutes northeast, you’ll find
“Antiques Capital, U.S.A.” in Adamstown, home to over 3,000 antique dealers,
traditional Pennsylvania Dutch cuisine and, of course, that Amish charm.

Shenandoah Valley
Shenandoah Valley’s Skyline Drive offers 105 miles of scenic byway surrounded by
stunning views of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia. Whether you tackle the sloping,
winding road by bike or car, you’ll encounter plenty of quaint Virginian towns along the
way. Stop in Staunton’s Red Brick District to check out the arts scene or visit
Waynesboro for world-class fishing.

​Worlds End State Park is situated in a narrow S-shaped valley of the Loyalsock Creek,
just south of Forksville, Sullivan County.
Surrounded by the Loyalsock State Forest, the 780-acre park offers visitors diverse
recreational opportunities within a pristine environment. The rugged natural beauty
coursing through the heart of the Endless Mountains landscape provides many
photographic possibilities.

Major League Ball Clubs:
Your choice: Philadelphia Phillies, Pittsburgh Pirates, New York Mets,
New York Yankees, Baltimore Orioles….all within 4 hours of Benton



Paul’s Pumpkin Bars


  • 4 eggs
  • 1 2/3 cups white sugar
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 (3 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. In a medium bowl, mix the eggs, sugar, oil, and pumpkin with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Stir into the pumpkin mixture until thoroughly combined.
  3. Spread the batter evenly into an ungreased 10×15 inch jellyroll pan. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes in preheated oven. Cool before frosting.
  4. To make the frosting, cream together the cream cheese and butter. Stir in vanilla. Add confectioners’ sugar a little at a time, beating until mixture is smooth. Spread evenly on top of the cooled bars. Cut into squares.







Printed From 9/18/2018