Disclaimer: you will laugh after trying this.

There was this really stupid/awesome thing I used to do as a joke with my friends when I was a junior in high school. We would Try and laugh with out smiling. I mean genuinely laugh without smiling.

$1 says you’re trying it right now as you read this.

It’s harder than it sounds!

Here’s the beginning of this whole “laugh without smiling” thing:

The year was 2008. I died my hair brown. I thought I was super trendy. I wore weird hats and scarves. I also tried to laugh without smiling with my friends. The result was awesome.

Just notice how in this video, us trying to laugh without smiling ultimately leads to a genuine laugh. It’s almost impossible not to burst out laughing when you try this technique.

Laughing makes you happy. It lowers stress. It’s therapeutic.

You might feel like an idiot while doing this, but you won’t if you make your friends do it with you as well. Up to this day, almost every person I’ve ever met, no matter how shy or reserved or serious they may be, crack a genuine smile when I challenge them to this.

I always used this as an ice breaker or something funny to do when out with my friends, but it hit me the other day that this is actually an amazingly therapeutic exercise for stress release!

Try it with your friends! Challenge someone to laugh without smiling! Best case scenario, you feel great and relieved of some stress. Worse case scenario, you end up laughing. It’s a win-win in my opinion.

So… can you laugh without smiling? Can you?

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Stressed? Try this out…

Yesterday, I got a request from one of my followers for tips on how to de-stress. Nobody likes to feel stressed out. When you feel stressed, the whole world feels like it’s out to get you and everything always seems to go wrong. There are drugs and pills out there that help people deal with stress and anxiety, but unless you deal with the actual problem, it will just keep coming back. Plus, pills cost a lot of money and being healthy individuals, we don’t want to be drugged up all the time anyway! I personally get stressed really easily with school and maintaining my grades, so I’ve learned a few things to help relieve it. 

Some tips that I have found useful:

1. Exercise (it literally is the cure for almost anything): Even just walking for 30 minutes can help lower your stress levels.

2. Drinking less caffeine and alcohol/eating less sugary foods: Moral of the story, eat all the things you know you should be eating already, avoid all the bad stuff and pretty much all your basic woes will go away (weight issues, stress, energy levels, etc.)!

If you still feel stressed, here’s my favorite guided meditation that helps me get through rough days:

http://youtu.be/o94tvFUttco

I know what you’re thinking… “guided meditation?? But I’m not a buddhist, hippy, vegan, or free-spirit so guided meditation is DEFINITELY not for me!” But you just have to trust me on this one. It’s only 11 minutes and if you really follow along with everything it tells you to do, you will feel a weight lifted off your shoulders. Stress only exists because of how you perceive a situation. You don’t need it. Try this guided meditation out. Do it everyday either in the morning, midday or before you go to bed, it doesn’t matter!

I hope you have a day devoid of stress!

So many possibilities with a new year…

This post is a day late, but yesterday I was busy planning out exactly what I wanted from 2014. The start of a new year is a great time to reflect on the previous year: what you regret, what you are proud of, what you failed at, what you succeeded in, etc. I think it’s important to reflect on the previous year because you can learn not only from what you did right, but what you did wrong as well. My family and I have this ritual where we get together and write down our regrets on a piece of paper and then burn it. We are acknowledging that we weren’t perfect the last year and letting it go to move on to better things (and hopefully learning from those mistakes!). After we write down our regrets and burn them, we write down our goals for this next year. We separate our goals into 7 sections: financial, social, family, scholastic, career, health, and spiritual. After we have them all written down, we put them in an envelope and seal it off to open next new years.

Writing down your new years resolutions (or goals) helps you solidify in your mind that you are going to complete them. If you just tell yourself your resolution, it’s easy to conveniently “forget” that you resolved to lose 10 pounds when facing a mound of cookies. Writing them down makes it a little more official so that you are more likely to follow through!

Just because it’s January 2nd, it doesn’t mean that it’s too late to promise yourself some changes in your life. Write down some goals and get started on completing them! It’s a brand new year with so much potential. You deserve great changes in your life!

Some of my resolutions:

1. daily meditations, positive affirmations and journaling

2. reconnect with family members that I haven’t seen in a while

3. maintain a healthy diet and lifestyle (no matter how busy I am. No excuses!)

4. be more consistent in spreading the word (via my blog) about how to be healthy, happy and fit!

Those are some of my many resolutions for 2014! As part of my 4th resolution, this year I will be posting fitness, healthy cooking, positive affirmation/meditation and overall lifestyle videos along with my usual healthy healthy recipe posts. My goal is to spread all the information and knowledge that I have acquired to as many people as possible. If you like the videos or the recipes, let me know! If you have questions or want information on a specific topic/workout/recipe, comment on my blog and I will be more than happy to post a blog or vlog about it!

We all have the ability to be the happiest and healthiest us!

Happy 2014, friends!

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(I started my new year on a hike with my parents in the Santa Monica mountains!)