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Why Laughter Works in Wellness

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Laughter is just what the doctor ordered

We’ve all heard the saying “laughter is the best medicine”. Now let’s talk about why this is the prescription we could all use. 

Think about how you feel when you watch a funny show or movie, or you’re told a funny story. You can’t help but to smile and feel good. Well, when this sensation happens, a similar positive response happens internally to your body systems. Laughter benefits us in many ways. These benefits can be physical, emotional, spiritual and can help us to heal.

So, how does this work and how can you take advantage of these benefits?

Short-term Benefits of Laughter

Laughing has the ability to benefit our short- and long-term health. In the short-term, it can be an immediate relief for us.

 

Laughing can… 

  • Relieve tension by relaxing your muscles. By laughing, you can increase circulation and help relax your muscles.
  • Stimulate organs. When you laugh, more oxygen enters circulation in the body, helping to stimulate body systems.
  • Stabilize blood pressure. Laughter has been shown to relax blood vessels, helping to decrease blood pressure.
  • Aid digestion. The act of laughing stimulates activity of the digestive tract and can aid in digestion. 
  • Reduce stress. Laughing decreases stress hormones, cortisol and epinephrine, in your blood. In other words, it demonstrates a reversal of the body’s stress response

Long-term Benefits of Laughter

When we fill our life with laughter, there’s more than just an immediate feeling of joy and catharsis. We  can experience benefits way beyond that immediate moment. For instance, laughter can profoundly impact our health overtime.

Overtime, laughter has the ability to …

  • Improve your immune system and mood. When you experience negative thoughts, these trigger a stress response in the brain and suppress the immune system. But when you experience the positive emotions that laughter brings, endorphins– the “feel good” hormones, are released.  Then your immune cells and antibody activity are strengthened. This all helps to support your immune system.
  • Relieve pain. Studies have shown that when you experience laughter, your brain releases endorphins.  This response enables you to better tolerate pain. 
  • Help with coping. By finding humor in stressful or difficult situations, you can turn a negative perspective to a positive one.  As a result, you may be better able to cope with stress.
  • Benefit mental health. Laughter has the ability to reduce feelings of anxiety and depression and increase your resilience.  Therefore, you may bounce back faster from life challenges and see the positive in hard situations.  
  • Improve relationships and social connectivity. Laughter has the power to unite and connect people. It also increase perceptions of others as likable. 

How Can You Fill Your Life With More Laughter?

  • Make it a habit to be around people who make you laugh and improve your mood
  • Watch a funny show, video, or movie to relax and unwind
  • Call a friend who you can laugh and joke with 
  • Tell a story of something funny that happened to you 
  • Do fun activities that spark joy and laughter (games, sports, goat yoga, reading, etc.)

Along with these laughter-eliciting activities, there are scientifically studied therapies that include laughter as a form of healing.

Laughter Therapies

  • Laughter yoga is a technique that combines simulated laughter and breathing exercises for physiological and psychological benefits.
  • Laughter meditation is the practice of focused laughter to release emotional and physical stress.
  • Humor/Laughter therapy includes a range of laughter-eliciting activities. And it has been used in healthcare for its physical and psychological benefits.

Humor for Wellness Marketing

Humor and laughter don’t just have a direct contribution to our body health. They also contribute to the effectiveness of health interventions for a broader population. For example, humor is a great tool for marketing wellness. It engages us and makes us laugh and tune in. As a result, humorous messaging is shared more often and passed along, broadening the reach of a message. And when the message is something that can help individuals improve their health and wellness, it is even more important that we pass it along. 

If you are looking to spread the message of wellness to your employees, contact us at info@bkomplete.com to sign up for our wellness newsletter. 

Humor to Empower Health

When we talk about our health, it can be an intimidating or overwhelming discussion. But when we use humor, we have the power to eliminate some of the stress associated with confronting one’s health. That’s why there is nothing wrong with using a funny meme or video to initiate a discussion on health. Otherwise this topic may be too difficult for some to address.

 

By empowering people to talk about their health, goals, and needs, we can help them take steps to improving their health and being the best version of themselves. 

Humor is empowering, healing, and therapeutic. So take advantage of the power of a good laugh and enjoy the benefits that follow. To learn more about how you can reduce stress and bring positivity to your life, contact B.Komplete.

And for a quick laugh and wellness tip, check out our video below!

Written by Heather Schissler, B.Komplete Office Assistant

Blog

How to Help Employees Cope with Crisis and Prioritize Mental Health

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We are all in crisis (COVID-19) and the challenge to our mental health is overwhelming. In a recent poll, nearly half (45%) of adults in the United States reported that their mental health has been negatively impacted due to worry and stress over the virus. This is a problem because when our stress increases, so does risk of physical and psychological issues. These issues include digestive problems, difficulty sleeping, difficulty concentrating, emotional distress, and triggers to mental health disorders. Under these conditions no one can perform their best.  And when you relate this to your employee population, the challenges to employee well-being are significant.  Poor mental health affects employee productivity, performance, and health. By helping your employees cope with stress and crisis, your business will see more productive, safer, well-adjusted and happier employees.

As a result of the ongoing global health crisis, we are facing an unprecedented surge of mental health problems, including depression, substance abuse, post-traumatic stress disorder, and more. If these mental health issues are not addressed now, this can lead to prolonged suffering with long-lasting impacts. The question is, how can you help your employees cope with crises now and avoid these negative health outcomes in the future?

Encourage your employees

Be there for your employees. Providing guidance for employees during times of crisis is imperative. Focusing on employee wellness will allow you to help employees better cope with crises. Encourage the right behaviors that will lead employees toward better mental, physical, and emotional health. Help your employees with some of the tips below. 

Social Connectivity for Mental Health

Studies show that people who feel more connected to others experience lower rates of anxiety and depression. During times of social distancing, employees may feel more isolated and may struggle to remain social.


If working from home, add virtual group meetings and check-ins. This will keep social ties between coworkers and instill a support system. Encourage video chat lunch breaks or a walking club to remain connected as a work team.  Healthy competition is a great way to keep employees connected – schedule a B.Komplete Online Wellness Challenge to engage your employees across the Country (and the World).

Physical Activity for Mental Health

Now more than ever, it is important to encourage physical activity. Regular physical activity positively impacts the mind and body. The problem is, people are participating in less physical activity as a result of mandated quarantines. Getting active and adding physical activity into your day will bring better energy – better sleep – sharper memory – and more positive feelings. 

Encourage employees to get outdoors on days when the weather is nice.  If working from home, take the time that would be spent on commuting to do something physical, no matter how big or small.

Start an exercise group for employees to share home workouts and tips. This will provide employees a support system to help them stay motivated in their fitness goals. If employees need a little extra support and accountability, video chat walks are the perfect solution. It’s as easy as calling a friend or co-worker during your lunch break or at the end of the work day and getting moving. This is a great way to get active while staying social.

Healthy Eating for Mental Health

When employees eat better and focus on nourishing their bodies, they are better prepared with the energy to take on stressful situations. The nutrients in our food affects how well our mind and body are able to function. It is important to choose a healthy balance of foods to be able to take on the day and cope with stress. One recommendation to aim for is to consume 2, 4-oz servings of oily fish a week for DHA benefits. 

Encourage employees to take lunch breaks and prep meals ahead of time as would normally be done for an in-person work week.  We can help make cooking simple (and delicious)!  Contact us to learn more.

Self Care for Mental Health

Practicing self-care means finding ways to take care of our mental, physical, and emotional health. This can include physical activity, meditation, sleep/rest, journaling, engaging with friends and family, or taking on a new hobby. 

Self-care can be anything really- it just depends on the person and what makes them feel good.  Encourage employees to find the activities they enjoy that benefit them mentally, physically, and emotionally. 

Seeking Professional Guidance

Normalize the practice of reaching out for help and seeking professional help when needed. Talk about the importance of prioritizing mental health and seeking help.

Encourage employees to seek professional counseling or assistance if their mental health is not well. Some resources to turn to for further help include the disaster distress helpline, crisis textline, national suicide prevention lifeline, and resource hotline for substance abuse disorders. Visit mentalhealth.gov for crisis numbers and resources.

Finding Positive Hobbies for Mental Health

With many of us experiencing increased stress, it’s so important to add positive activities into the day.  This can help as a distraction from any negativity and can act as an outlet to release stress. 

These positive activities can include any of the previously mentioned behaviors such as exercise, self-care practices, and socializing. Creative activities can also be incorporated to reduce stress and relax. 

Work-Life Balance for Mental Health

Navigating a work-life balance is a difficult feat in and of itself, but adding the element of working from home, possibly with family in the mix, is a whole new challenge. Consider a more lenient approach to the workday.  Discuss work plans with employees to understand their availability and needs.

Utilize these tips and find an approach that works best for you and your employees. Coping with a crisis is not easy, but you can offer encouragement and be there for your employees so that they can continue to be there for you and your clients.  B.Komplete is here to help.  We are offering all of our wellness services virtually.  Contact us to learn how we can engage your population, reduce employee stress, and ensure connectivity and positivity with your workforce.

Written by Heather Schissler, B.Komplete Office Assistant

Blog

Intermittent Fasting- The Power to Help Prevent Cancer?

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We all know someone who has experienced hearing the words, “You have cancer.” According to the CDC, for every 100,000 people, there are 436 new cancer cases and 156 died due to cancer. It is the second leading cause of death in the US. One of every four deaths in the US is due to cancer. What is one of the potential solutions to this growing disease? Let’s discuss – Intermittent Fasting.

Can intermittent fasting be a new way to help prevent this disease? Most of us already know that a balanced and healthy lifestyle is the first step to help prevent cancer.  Activities include frequent exercise, nutritious food choices, keeping a healthy weight, alcohol in moderation and avoiding tobacco. New research suggests that what has been a religious practice, and a very restrictive dieting program, can potentially help prevent and treat this deadly disease.

Continuous research is being done supporting the role of fasting on cancer treatment and prevention. Calorie restriction is able to reduce and delay cancer incidence, and inhibits tumor progression and metastasis. Fasting can kill cancer cells, boost the immune system, and improve the effectiveness of chemotherapy and radiation therapy.

What is Fasting?

It is voluntarily going without food  for varying lengths of time. Specifically, intermittent fasting is a complete avoidance of calorie intake for 16-18 hours daily or alternating a fasting day with a normal energy intake day. The theory is that it will slow your metabolism.

Pro's of Intermittent Fasting

Con's of Intermittent Fasting

  • Weight loss
  • Reduces inflammation
  • Improves biometric markers
  • Can aid in the growth of new nerve cells
  • Slow aging
  • High dropout rate
  • Overeating typically occurs following fasting days
  • Expensive meal plans
  • Limited research to support
  • Promotes a restrictive mentality

Intermittent Fasting... and Cancer?

Improves Insulin Sensitivity

Fasting means not eating for lengths of time, right? When there is more food available in the body, the cells become less sensitive to insulin. So, you are probably thinking “what does that mean?” Insulin resistance means that cells do not respond to insulin signals, leading to more glucose in the blood and a higher fat storage. When our body is fasting, it tries to conserve as much energy as possible so the cells become more sensitive to insulin, can remove glucose from blood and there is less fat stored. Simple answer: when there is more sensitivity to insulin, cancer cells have a harder time developing or growing.

Reverses Effects of Chronic Conditions

Certain conditions like obesity and type 2 diabetes have been identified as risk factors for cancer. When affected by these conditions, the risk for multiple times of cancers is higher, and there is a lower chance of survival. Fasting has been proven to increase weight loss. This reduces obesity rates and diabetes which can reduce the risk of developing cancer.

Can Improve Quality of Life During Chemotherapy

Fasting improves people’s responses to chemotherapy because it promotes cellular regeneration; protects blood against harmful effects of chemotherapy; reduces side effects from chemotherapy. Patients who were fasting during chemotherapy also reported higher energy levels and a higher tolerance.

What Should You Eat?

Focus on nutrient density by selecting wholesome foods that provide you energy, nutrients and fill your belly. Mix up your veggie choices to get a variety of vitamins and minerals. Let’s not forget about the importance of protein! Foods with protein will keep you full, which is important for the days where you are fasting. Pay close attention to low calorie foods that create high volume- on both your plate and in your belly!

More Information

Do you want more information on this type of diet or an example of what a fasting meal plan looks like? We provide counseling and you may qualify for free sessions.  Email B.Komplete at admin@bkomplete.com for more information and to see if you quality for our free in-network counseling. 

Resources:

  1. I Tried Intermittent Fasting. Here’s What Happened
  2. Fasting- What You Should Know
  3. What To Eat On An Intermittent Fasting Diet
  4. Intermittent Fasting
  5. Eating Hints: Before, During, and After Cancer Treatment

Researched and written by Alexa Clark, Dietetic Intern

Nutrition and Food

What are Pre and Probiotics?

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Many of us have heard the word “probiotics.” In fact, many of us would even be able to associate probiotics with our gut or stomach. But what do they do? How do they help our stomach and digestion, and what the heck are prebiotics?

Probiotics are live bacterial cultures that help to keep our gut healthy.  Probiotics help with digestion, absorption of nutrients, and immune function.   Probiotics are found in fermented foods like kefir, kombucha, sauerkraut, pickles, miso, tempeh, natto, and kimchi.   Probiotics can also be found in dairy products such as yogurt.  One reason why we are encouraged to eat more yogurt, (how many of us have watched Activia commercials with Jamie Lee Curtis?) and certain soft, fermented cheese. Probiotics are now being manufactured into supplement form.  

Prebiotics are fiber, that basically work as a ‘fertilizer’ for the probiotics. Meaning, while the probiotics, or “good bacteria,” is working it’s way into the gut, prebiotics are helping the probiotics multiply, grow, and improve the amount of good bacteria in the gut. Interestingly, the body doesn’t digest prebiotics. It simply utilizes them to propagate probiotics in the digestive system.

Although both pre and probiotics work together to improve gut health, they are not found in the same foods. If you’re looking to add both to your diet without utilizing food sources, both can be found in supplement form.  However, the Registered Dietitian Nutritionists’ on the B.Komplete Team strongly recommend food first – before supplements.  Dietary supplements are not tested by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration like medications. And the probiotic strains in the supplements may not be specific for the condition you’re looking to treat.  Always tell your Physician what you are doing that may affect your health, and schedule an appointment with a RDN on our team.

Foods Rich in Probiotics

Yogurt: is the number one source of probiotics. However, this only applies if the label says “active live cultures.” Any pasteurization or sterilization can kill the bacteria and then there’s no good bacteria.

Sauerkraut: Also known as lacto-fermented cabbage. When unpasteurized, contains Lactobacillus bacteria (good bacteria). In this state, it contains more probiotics than yogurt.

Miso Soup: A very popular item on a Japanese restaurant menu, this soup is made with miso paste, an Asian seasoning made by fermenting a mixture of soybeans, barley, brown rice and several other grains with a fungus, Aspergillus oryzae.  Miso is a healthy, probiotic food that helps support digestion by adding beneficial microorganisms to your digestive tract.

Kefir: Similar to yogurt, there’s kefir, a fermented and cultured beverage, with a characteristic tart taste. For those with a dairy intolerance, kefir can be a good choice. Interestingly enough, a study done by Ohio State University, found that drinking kefir can reduce gas and bloating brought on by lactose consumption by almost 70%.

Pickles: Cucumbers that have been “pickled” in a solution of salt and water, using their own lactic acid bacteria, they are left to ferment, which turns them sour and a source of probiotics. Pickles are a good source of vitamin K too, although they are high in sodium, something to watch out for.

Foods Rich in Prebiotics

Asparagus: Great source of prebiotics with roughly 5% fiber by weight.  Check out this delicious recipe for asparagus salad or this recipe for an asparagus frittata

Legumes:  A great sources of protein and iron. Common legumes include; lentils, kidneys, and chickpeas. Legumes have the right amount of fiber to boost healthy gut flora.

Jerusalem Artichoke: Interestingly, Jerusalem artichoke has nothing to do with artichoke, with the exception of its heart’s flavor. Jerusalem artichoke is loaded with prebiotics as well as potassium and iron.  And they are easy to prepare!

Bananas: A convenient food, that has fiber and potassium.  

Oats: Healthy grains with the added bonus of prebiotics. Oats contain beta-glucan fiber, which is what increases healthy gut bacteria, as well as antioxidants, which means they have anti-inflammatory effects.

How Much Do You Need?

At present, the verdict is out on exactly how much we need to consume, however some of the regulatory and scientific groups have put forward, per day figures of:

  • Dietary fiber: 25-38 grams

If you are not used to eating a diet that is rich in fiber, start slowly.  Try adding 1 new food each day for a week that provides a good source of fiber.  You can gradually increase each week.  

We truly hope this blog post was helpful, and inspires you to add a source of pre and/or probiotic fiber into your daily food plan.  Here at B.Komplete we believe in a healthy and balanced approach to eating.  Let us know in the comment section what you try!