LAUGHTER!! … It’s Good for You!

We all enjoy a good, hearty laugh!

Guess what? As it turns out, laughter on a regular basis is really good for us, too! It is considered one of the most natural ways we can treat ourselves to a greater level of happiness. Adding a little humor to each day can improve our lives – body, mind and soul – encouraging optimal health and wellbeing by creating better balance and enhancing a sense of calmness. Laughter is an important element of emotional health, and part of what is referred to as our “psychosocial dimension of wellness”, essential for healing and quality of life.

Psychosocially healthy people possess a zest for life, are internally healthy and thrive intellectually. Such individuals enrich the lives of others; overall, they are energetic, resilient, focused and open-minded. They feel good about themselves, so they are comfortable around others and meet daily demands with a hopeful outlook. Cherishing experiences that bring a smile to the day, they adapt to change easily and maintain sensitivity toward others. The components of psychosocial health are emotional (feeling), social (relating), mental (thinking) and spiritual (being). They are essential aspects of our wellbeing, especially when dealing with stress. Each of us experience occasional “dips”, downturns during our lives, yet those who utilize sound coping skills are capable of giving and receiving affection and love, working continuously to employ strengths to improve weaknesses. Let’s look at a few of the physical benefits of laughing:

  • Enhances “aerobic activity”, increasing breathing and heart rate, blood pressure and circulation
  • Increases oxygen delivered to cells throughout our body
  • Clears mucus from the lungs
  • Strengthens our heart muscle (20 seconds of laughter = 3 minutes of rowing!)
  • Boosts immune cells and immune-related hormones, decreases stress hormones
  • Breaks pain/spasm cycles through muscular relaxation
  • Decreases inflammation, assisting with sleep

What a phenomenal list ~~ But wait, there’s more! The psychological benefits of laughter are significant, too. Stress relief actually lasts long after laughing, bolstering “stress immunity”. A new perspective can emerge, altering our perception of discomfort and distress, and enabling greater resilience and stress management abilities.

Laughter is contagious and the mere anticipation of a good chuckle makes us feel terrific! A big smile from someone nearby can catch our eye, with the likelihood of laughter, which stimulates one-on-one bonding. Research even tells us that, overall, women prefer a man with a sense of humor; men prefer women who laugh at their wit. Clearly, a daily dose of laughter is valuable, so exercise your skills today:

  • Make a pledge to laugh out loud every day
  • Set aside time to call someone who adds fun to your life at least once a week
  • Start a humor collection (jokes, clippings, cartoons, cards, mugs, books, videos)
  • Watch funny movies
  • Do something silly each day

As one of the most natural and beneficial gifts we can give ourselves, laughter is the perfect Rx to include in our daily diet. Go ahead … let it be the self-induced prescription that spices up your life.

Laughing is good for you … JUST DO IT!