Laughter is the Best Medicine

When was the last time you had a good laugh?  Not a giggle or a polite laugh, but when was your last hearty, side splitting, “make you cry” laugh?!  Where you laughed so hard you could felt like you could hardly breathe? If you really have to think about it, it’s been too long!

I have always felt that a good laugh makes us feel good but there are medical benefits that can be associated with laughing.

  • Tension and stress cause the blood vessels to tense up and restrict blood flow.  Laughter has been shown to return blood flow to normal with blood vessels expanding and contracting regularly.  This exercise for your heart can help aid in protecting you against a heart attack or other cardiovascular problems.
  • Stress has been associated with a decreased immune system.  Humor can raise the levels of infection fighting antibodies in the body and boost the levels of immune cells.
  • Laughter triggers the release of endorphins, a natural chemical in your body that makes you feel better.  These endorphins can actually temporarily relieve pain.
  • Humor brings relaxation.  Muscles that are tense and tight can can be eased with a good, hearty laugh.  This feeling of relaxation can stay with you for as long as 45 minutes after the laugh.
  • When feeling overwhelmed, humor can shift your perspective, allowing you to see the situation in a more realistic and manageable light.
  • Laughing is great exercise for the diaphragm, abdominal and facial muscles.  It even burns calories! When your belly aches after a good laugh, you should be commended for a great workout!

Sharing laughter with another person brings joy, vitality and resilience, uniting people in difficult times and offsetting the impact of mental stress.  Though I don’t recommend laughing at a funeral, I can see where it could be very beneficial to ease the tension while sharing those funny memories of our loved ones who have passed.

How often have you encountered someone laughing and found yourself joining in?  It’s contagious!  Most people are happy to share the source of their laughter as it gives them the opportunity to laugh again and feed off the laughter of others.

So, loosen up.  Look at the lighter side of life.

  • Don’t be afraid to laugh at yourself.  Share an embarrassing moment and laugh at your serious self.
  • Release your inhibitions and don’t be afraid to express your true feelings.
  • Surround yourself with reminders to lighten up.
  • Keep things in perspective.

Here are two videos that always make me laugh…

 

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