Laughing Relieves Stress
My talented friend Beth Gibbs is a retired nonprofit and broadcast executive, turned author and yoga instructor. A recent post she wrote reminded me about the health value of laughter. Given the craziness and stress we are all dealing with this year, it seemed worth sharing some of those tidbits.
The Mayo clinic lists several benefits from laughter. It can enhance your intake of oxygen-rich air, which would seem especially valuable with a disease around that robs you of your ability to breathe properly. Laughter also stimulates your heart, lung and muscles, improving circulation and helping muscles to relax, all of which relieve stress.
Best of all, from my perspective, laughter increases your brain’s release of endorphins, which make us feel pleasure – exactly the effect I hope to achieve with my paintings! Many times the subjects of my paintings are things that stopped me in my tracks, and I want to share the excitement I felt. Once in a while it’s a scene that simply cracks me up, and I want to share the joke with my collectors. This painting is a good example.
Vendors at a market off the Ramblas in Barcelona sell almost everything – meat, cheese, veggies, fish and baked goods. This woman’s candy display caught my eye, its colorful checkerboard immediately appealing to me. Upon closer inspection, she appeared to have sampled regularly and liberally from her inventory, which is what made me laugh. I decided it would be fun to paint, and set myself the challenge of portraying her tightly stretched white dress without using any white (see my website Q&A for an explanation of that technique.) I hope this scene gives you a chuckle, as it did me.