Have you ever heard the saying “Laughter is the best medicine.”? Both doctors and scientists have proven this to be true in clinical studies from around the world. There’s a growing body of research and conclusive evidence that laughter does lots of good things for us on many levels. Below are 8 ways laughter can positively affect your health and happiness.
Laughter has been shown to:
1. Reduce chronic pain and allow you to tolerate discomfort. Medical studies have shown that 10 minutes of laughter can diminish chronic pain for up to 2 hours.
2. Reduce blood sugar levels, increasing glucose tolerance in diabetics and non-diabetics alike.
3. Reduce stress and make you more relaxed. A good 15 minute session of laughing can relieve muscle tension and make you feel more relaxed. This in turn can calm you and bring a general sense of well being. Stress hormones are decreased as laughter reduces stress.
4. Help your blood vessels function better. Laughter acts on the inner lining of your blood vessels, called the endothelium, causing vessels to relax and expand, increasing blood flow. In other words, it’s good for your brain and heart – two organs that require the steady flow of oxygen carried in the blood.
5. Boost your immune system and energy level. Infection-fighting antibodies are released when you laugh.
6. Improve your creativity. You can face challenges with a wider perspective with a good sense of humour. This leads to more creative problem solving, which in turn leads to the next point:
7. Improve your job performance, especially if your work depends on creativity, and solving complex problems.
8. Synchronize the brains of speaker and listener so that they are emotionally attuned. Laughter’s role in intimate relationships is vastly underestimated and it truly is the glue of good long-term relationships. It establishes or restores a positive emotional climate and a sense of connection between two people. Some researchers even believe that the major function of laughter is to bring people together and all of the other health benefits of laughter mentioned above may simply result from the social support that laughter stimulates.
So now that you know how good it is for you to laugh, what can you do to bring more laughter into your life? Here are a few of my favourite free medicine quick fixes that can be done anywhere at any time:
- Smile more often. A smile is the first step towards laughter and is equally contagious. Make a conscious effort to smile more and laughter will follow.
- Have a laugh at your own expense. When appropriate, share your embarrassing moments with others. This can help you take yourself a little less seriously.
- Be playful and silly. When my daughters were young, we would often do the “Happy Hop”. Everyone stands in a circle either holding hands or placing your arms around each other and simply jump up and down repeating “Happy Hop” until everyone is laughing.
- Use funny stories or jokes to lighten your mood. Pay attention to the funny stories and jokes that other people share and learn how to tell your own. Appreciate the humour in daily experiences and share it with friends.
With all of the wonderful health benefits of laughter and some ideas to get you laughing more, I’m putting out a challenge for you to bring more laughter into your life. As mentioned above, an easy way to add more laughter is to share your funny stories with others or by telling a joke. I welcome you to post your favourite (all-ages) joke or story here in the comment section on my site before November 10th and the best joke will win a free Reconnective Healing session. To get you started, here’s one of my all-time favourites….
Did you hear about the short Psychic that went missing? The headline in today’s newspaper was: SHORT MEDIUM AT LARGE.
With love and gratitude,