Monday, February 16, 2015

Challenge #23--Midway Reflection & Voting Reminder

Hello everyone! We have reached the midway point of Challenge #23. The theme for this challenge is all about LAUGHTER.   As usual, I am going to share a little introspection with you all that I am also presenting on my own personal blog in my "Motivational Monday" feature.

The Importance of Laughter

From giggles to guffaws, there is nothing quite like the sound of laughter.  It is so common that we can forget how strange and important it is.  Can you imagine walking into a room of people who are laughing if you've never heard the sound of it before?  Or what if you didn't have emotions and got to experience laughter for the very first time?  I was watching an old rerun episode of Star Trek:  The Next Generation, late last night.  For those of you who are unfamiliar with the show, it was a popular science fiction show created by Gene Roddenberry back in the '80s.  One of the main characters on the program is an android named Data.  Data doesn't have any emotions, yet longs to be a human being; a little bit like Pinocchio.  In the episode I watched last night, Data risked his own existence to save an omnipotent being called Q.  In an act of uncharacteristic benevolence, Q imparted Data with the gift of experiencing true laughter for the very first time, as a way of saying thank you to the android.  It started out as a couple muffled giggles and turned into a series of full belly laughs.  When Data had finished laughing, he was asked by a fellow crewman to describe what it was like, Data replied, "It felt....wonderful."

Yes, wonderful is definitely one way to describe the experience of laughter.  Other descriptions include, freeing, amazing and liberating, just to name a few.  The great thing about laughter is that it crosses all genders, all ages, all nationalities, all religions, all cultures.  It helps us to make connections with others.  Laughter is a "social vocalization that binds people together. It is a hidden language that we all speak" (Robert Provine, 2000, para. 2).  It aids people in resolving their intentions within social interactions and for helping to provide an emotional context to their conversations. Laughter within a group can signal acceptance as it creates an opportunity to have positive interactions with others.  The more comfortable we are within a group, the more likely we are to open up and feel free to experience the joys of laughter. It brings us together in ways that other emotions can't.  Laughter can truly help to bond people and bridge cultures and divides.

If at all possible, each of should experience a daily dose of laughter.  Not only are there social benefits but there are psychological and physiological ones as well. 

On the physiological side of things, laughter can aid in the reduction of stress, is helpful for those coping with major illness, and studies indicate that it has even been known to boost our immune system, thereby helping us to ward off disease.  It can even benefit our cardiovascular system.  "Researchers estimate that laughing 100 times is equal to 10 minutes on the rowing machine or 15 minutes on an exercise bike" (Kim, 2003, para. 5).  Talk about an effective tool to help us take care of ourselves! 

From a psychological  standpoint, the benefits of humor and laughter are also quite incredible.  Many of us store negative emotions such as fear, sadness, anxiety, depression and anger for example.  We tend to stuff these lower frequency emotions deep down inside.  This of course can start to have a negative effect on our physical body by causing biochemical changes if we don't find healthy ways of expressing them.  While there are many ways to go about releasing these emotions, laughter can provide us with an effective and fun way to harmlessly do so.   Laughter is cathartic. It can help to purge the negativity and bring us back in balance.  In just moments, experiencing the wonderful joy of laughter, we can start the process of soothing our soul.

So, whether it is sharing a joke with a friend, watching a comedy on TV, or surrounding yourself with funny people, find ways to bring more humour and laughter into your life.  You'll benefit from it in ways you never thought possible.  Who knew a case of the giggles could be such an important aspect of everyday life!

Author Unknown. (N.D.). Gelotology. Available: Last accessed 16th February 2015.
Author Unknown. (N.D.). Laughter. Available: Last accessed 16th February 2015.
Author Unknown. (N.D.). Physiological Responses of Humour. Available: Last accessed 16th February 2015.
Brain, Marshall. (2000). How Laughter Works. Available: Last accessed 16th February 2015.
Hammond, G-F. (2010). Healing Suppressed Emotions . Available: Last accessed 16th February 2015.
Kim, Sarah. (2003). The Joy Of Laughter. Available: Last accessed 16th February 2015.
Kurus, Mary. (2002). Emotions - How To Understand, Identify Release Your Emotions.. Available: Last accessed 16th February 2015.
Provine, Robert. (2000). The Science of Laughter. Available: Last accessed 16th February 2015.
As a reminder, here are the watermarks and links for the wonderful images that the team worked with for the midway.

From Limited Runs...

 Little Puppy (Category: Furry Critters, Section: 11-20)

Flower with Lady Bug (Category: Flowers, Section: Flowers 2)

 Teddy #2 (Category:  Furry Critters, Section: 31-40)

 Beach Umbrella

 Doctor Bear

Birthday Cake Oopsie Bear

We are fortunate and blessed to have the chance to work with all these fabulous images during the midway.  Thanks so much to our amazing sponsors.
To help inspire you down the path of laughter, check out the wonderful projects most of my Design Team had the opportunity to create...

Finally, that leaves our...
Helen, from Crafting Helen, who is our guest designer this month, created this lovely card...
 Clicking on the team members name (or in the case of our GDT, the blog name) will take you to their blog where you can check out the details for their inspirational creations!
So if you haven't entered already, what are you waiting for?  Create a project and/or post that is positive AND relates to laughter, provide an explanation of how your project and/or post relates to the theme somewhere in your post or come over and leave a comment with the explanation.  Easy, peasy!  You can enter our latest challenge by clicking HERE.

Also, I know that the participants would love for you to go and pay them a visit.  Remember we're creating a Path of Positivity to follow one project at a time and we'd love to see you somewhere on that route even if it is just by leaving a comment on an entry from someone who has touched you somehow with their project and/or post!

If you are new to this unique challenge, you can find out the impetus behind why I started it under the 'Introductions' tab and all the details you need to know in order to participate, in the 'Challenge Details' tab (both tabs located at the top of the blog).

Don't Forget...

You still have until 11:55 p.m. tonight, to vote on your favourite entry for Challenge #22.  Voting is quick, easy and painless so I hope you will consider casting your vote if you haven't already.  Don't forget, if you leave a comment after voting, you have the opportunity to walk away with a selection of digital papers created especially with your interests in mind. To check out all those eligible and cast your vote, click HERE.  Winners for challenge #22 will be posted next Monday.

If you need some additional motivation to help inspire you, I've provided another sentiment on this month's theme (the first is available HERE), free for you to download.

 Left click to bring the image up into the lightbox in its full size and then right click and scroll down to 'save as'.

Credit Notes For This Creation:
© 2015, Lisa L. Décosse.  PUO.  However, you are allowed to use the sentiment on handmade projects that you intend to sell on a small scale basis provided credit is given. You also need to include a credit note and a link to this blog should you use any of my images in your creations and post them on your blog. Please be sure to familiarize yourself with my full terms of use found in the 'Download Instructions & T.O.U.' tab at the top of this page.  Of important note:  Please do not share my images with family, friends, etc. Additionally, do not post any images to file sharing services like Box®, 4-Shared®, etc. Instead, please direct people to my blog so they can grab the image for themselves. If you would like to post a watermarked version of the image, please contact me to obtain one. 

This word art creation is in png format and published at 300 ppi. It is quite large in order to accommodate different programs that people work with.   If you are a card maker you can always resize it smaller without distorting the quality.

Font Information:
Click on the font name to take you to a download location.  These fonts were listed as free for commercial use at the time this project was made.and as such, it is my understanding, that I am within my rights to use these fonts in my creations and offer them to others.  Please refer to my full terms of service for what you can and cannot do with this digital creation.

Whether you are new and need to familiarize yourself with all the details,  or a returning participant and just need to refresh yourself, you can always find out everything you need to know in order to enter this challenge in the 'Challenge Details' tab at the top of the page. You can enter the challenge by clicking HERE to take you to the current challenge post where you can also find a quick summary of the details related to this challenge, towards the bottom of the post. 

Please show your support to our wonderful guest sponsors by going over and checking out their work and saying hi if you have the chance.  As mentioned above, this month our guest sponsors are...

Our regular sponsors include...

  If you ever have any questions be sure to EMAIL ME or just leave me a comment.

We look forward to seeing you participate!

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