When you wake up, is your heart already beating harder than it should be? Does everything you have to do today race through your mind? Now, you add coffee on top of that! You rush, rush, rush to take care of everything, shove a hamburger down your throat and then you’re off and running to the next thing.

According to the American Psychological Association, 77% of Americans have experienced the physical symptoms of stress: fatigue, headaches, upset stomach, muscle tension, changes in appetite and sex drive. And that doesn’t even include the psychological symptoms of irritability, anger, nervousness and lack of energy.

Our world is so fast-paced, it has replaced sleep, rest and relaxation with endless texting, emails, Red Bull and other caffeine products. Does this sound like you – or something you want to be a part of? Is this how you want to live? Uh, heck no!

The house I grew up in was always so tense, there was never any peace. Even sleep did bring not peace, because I slept in fear of my stepfather coming into my room again and abusing me. As a child, my body was trained to be a big ball of stress.

When I grew up, I not only worked crazy work hours, but constantly shouted orders to my kids, “Go, go, go! We’ve got to hurry! Let’s go!” Not only did I end up giving myself a heart attack, but I was grooming my kids to be fast-paced stress balls, as well. Stress is a habit! And it’s learned and passed on to our kids.

So, how do you relieve stress in your life? “Old sayings” stick around BECAUSE they’re true: Laughter really is the best medicine. And I don’t just mean watching a comedy movie, every now and then. I mean legitimately scheduling fun into your life!

When was the last time you flirted with your spouse? Went even one evening without constantly checking your phone? Giggling and flirting with your spouse not only inspires laughter, but it relieves stress! If you’re married and have felt the effects of stress on your sex drive, that probably added more stress to your relationship. If you and your spouse do not have a weekly date night, that needs to change.

If you’re single, you definitely need to schedule fun time! Laughter is proven to relieve stress. Most people’s idea of “de-stressing” is plopping down in front of the TV, with a snack or drink. But here’s the thing, TV doesn’t count! It doesn’t actually relieve the stress… it just postpones it for awhile. When you go to bed, that stress is still there… along with a few extra pounds from those snacks.

Today, turn off your work brain, your to-do list, shut down your email and have fun with the people you care about: Your kids, your spouse, your close friends. Everyone needs more laughter and fun in their life. Sometimes it’s okay to slow down and take a break! It doesn’t always have to be go, Go, GO!

What hobbies, activities or “de-stressors” you loved, have you cut out of your life? Today I want to encourage you to make time for those things again in your life. Let’s ALL start having more fun in our lives!

Tell me what you like to do for fun! Will you schedule more time for some good, old-fashioned fun, after reading today’s message? Leave me your comments and let me know!

And don’t forget to join us today, for The Dani Johnson Show, to gain more insights for your everyday life. You can find the show on your TV and radio or stream today’s show, right here on our website.

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In great faith,

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