Laughter has helped me through some dark days and has made some of my best days better.
Laughing is one of the simplest ways to enjoy life more. Not only does it feel good, but strong evidence supports that itâs actually good for our health.
It’s an old saying, that ‘Laughter is the Best Medicine’ and it’s often been dismissed during the last century.
These days doctors and scientists are coming to appreciate, once again, the power of laughter.
Research tells usÂ that laughter is a literal medicine, able to sooth and calm, while helping in a number of additional unexpected ways.
Table of Contents
- Ten Reasons to Make Laughter A Priority
Ten Reasons to Make Laughter A Priority
1. Refreshes Your Mind & Body
A good laugh can have the same effect as a short nap, refreshing and restoring your mind and body. While laughter shouldn’t be relied upon if you’re actually sleep-deprived and needing to operate machinery or drive, it can be excellent as a tonic to overcome sleepiness induced by too good’a lunch!
Alertness and creativity are also boosted by a good session of laughter so be sure to let your boss or teacher know that your larking about is actually doing the entire office an enormous favor!
2. Reduces Stress
Worrying, anxiety and disappointments can cause physical symptoms, like tense, aching tummies, headaches and sore, rigid joints. Having a good laugh pushes any worries to the back of the mind and relaxes muscles and joints.
Stress activates the sympathetic nervous system and triggers the release of hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline, which can worsen symptoms and feelings of stress. Laughter has been proven to reduce the levels of these two hormones, which can help you to get your anxieties under control.
If you’re excessively stressed out and nothing seems to help, I invite you to try kava stress relief tea. It always does the trick allowing me to mellow out and regroup.
3. Natural Analgesic
Laughter has long been known to relieve pain, even severe pain such as that experienced by cancer sufferers.
A study found that patients could improve their quality of sleep and reduce their reliance on pain medications by watching comedy videos shortly before falling asleep a great boon in any illness, where a period of deep, comfortable sleep can work wonders.
It is even believed by some that laughter can help to combat illness and some studies seem to verify this â but it’s not a widely accepted theory just yet.
The fact that laughter can reduce pain is known and accepted by many medical professionals, making it a tried and tested completely natural pain-killer!
4. Laughter Creates Bonds
Sharing laughter with a group of peers can strengthen a group identity, making everyone feel part of the team and create lasting bonds.
Human beings are sociable creatures and need other people in their lives to feel ‘normal’ and part of the human race.
This bond can stave off depression and help people get through tough times in life.
Whenever I need a good laugh, these laughing buddhas are the first video that comes to mind.
5. Strong Prophylactic
Laughter has been discovered to boost immune function!
Salivary IgA levels were found to be increased in patients immediately after they watched comedy shows â this is a tried and tested measure of immune function.
You can ‘fake’ your brain into being happy when you arrange your features into a pleasant smile, and you can banish the blues by simply pretending to laugh. Perhaps after a short time the humour of the situation will kick in and genuine laughter will follow, with all its attendant health benefits?
Something I did with my friend and co-founder Michael while staying with him for a couple of months in England, was spend 30 minutes each day forcing laughter – which ALWAYS resulted in genuine chortles after about 10-15 seconds.
6. Stimulates Vascular Circulation
Laughter appears to dilate, or loosen, the endothelium (the inner lining of blood vessels) which has the effect of reducing blood pressure and stimulating vascular circulation. Heart function seems to improve after a bout of laughter, with blood vessels relaxing and working more efficiently.
Interestingly, the same group of volunteers were shown a disturbing film, that created tension and unease in the watchers â almost all of them displayed vasoconstriction, or tightening of the endothelium.
If you insist on watching television (which I don’t recommend) keep it funny and you’ll feel better for it!
7. Lowers Blood Pressure
Laughter actually increases blood pressure while the laughter spasm is on-going. However, after the laughing has finished, respiration slows and deepens, meaning that the blood is more richly oxygenated. Blood pressure drops at this point, putting less strain on the heart.
Laughter can actually work like a mini exercise circuit, boosting circulation and working muscles all of which benefits the body.
While many doctors still recommend at least 30 minutes of activity five days a week, they’re beginning to advocate a 15 minute laughter session every day too!
8. Significantly Reduces Depression & Anxiety
Clinical depression is a serious medical condition that generally needs time, patience to overcome. There have been very few studies done on how laughter impacts mental illness, but those that have been completed nearly all show positive results.
The physical act of laughing empties the lungs, so they can be filled up with fresh clean air, exercises muscles that may not otherwise be used, and boosts levels of feel-good hormones while reducing those that exacerbate anxiety and worry.
Cognitive function is often improved after a bout of laughter, and older patients may benefit from regular, amusing interaction with others to ward off incipient dementia.
9. Helps Stabilize Blood Sugar
Some studies have found that diabetic patients experience lower blood sugar levels after enjoying a funny movie or television program.
While it is not certain that non-diabetics reap the same benefit from laughter, it seems clear that sweet laughter can help a diabetic to keep his or her sugar levels low and stable.
10. Boosts Memory
Laughter opens people up, making them more sociable but also boosts their memory. More areas of the brain light up when a person is laughing, which means more of the brain is being exercised, stimulated and used â something sure to stand us in good stead in later years.
Look for the humor in life and don’t be afraid to make yourself the butt of the joke occasionally. Not only will you enjoy a good laugh and make happy memories for yourself, you’ll reap the health benefits too!
Health by choice, not by chance.