How to Laugh Your Way to Health


Laughter is powerful

“Laughter is the tonic, the relief, the surcrease for pain”. Charlie Chaplin

Laughter is a dynamic remedy to reduce tension, defuse strife, and minimize pain. It relaxes the body, unites strangers and brings loved ones closer together. We have all heard the saying that “Laughter is the best medicine,” but few people realize the numerous, powerful emotional and physical health benefits it provides.

What is laughter?

When we laugh heartily the brain sends signals to our body which result in simultaneous gestures expressed and sounds vocalized ranging from giggles to howling. Since the time of Sigmund Freud scientists have been intrigued by laughter. It’s a combination of a physical response and a bio-chemical response producing amazing physical and emotional benefits. Doctor Candace Pert, Ph.D. and former Chief of Brain Biochemistry at Institutes of Health states, the chemicals which dictate our emotions are the same chemicals that help regulate our health.

The Health Benefits

“Your sense of humor is one of the most powerful tools you have to make certain that your daily mood and emotional state support good health.” Paul E. McGhee, Ph.D.

A good laugh helps you de-stress and relaxes the body for up to 45 minutes afterwards. It diminishes fear and improves your mood. The effects of laughing continue long after the moment. The act of laughing decreases stress-inducing chemicals such as cortisol and epinephrine and subsequently increases the production of pain relieving chemicals like endorphins.

A study from the University of Maryland showed laughter played a role in preventing and treating a host of diseases including diabetes, heart disease and even arthritis. Laughter boosts the immune system, reduces pain and helps to deal with stress. These health benefits alone should motivate individuals to start watching funny movies and reading humorous books, but the benefits of a good chuckle continue beyond improving our physical health.

Additional Benefits

Dr. Paul Mcghee states that laughter provides coping tools which help maintain long-term physical health. People with a sense of humor tend to be healthier physically and emotionally. Following a hearty laugh, a person feels less stressed, happy and in a positive mindset. Laughter empowers individuals to perform at higher levels mentally and emotionally which improve work, family and personal relationships.

“Laughter is an instant vacation,” Milton Berle

There is no shortage of laughter and the only cost is time and commitment. A sense of humor can be accessed as needed and improved upon by actively engaging in the act of laughter on a regular basis.

The Daily Practice

“A day without laughter is a day wasted.” Charlie Chaplin

To begin the transition from mediocre to hilarious, commit to add a little bit of laughter to each day. Here are exercises which stimulate and strengthen the laughter muscle, so to speak. As with any new exercise, it gets easier if practiced regularly.

  • Schedule to read funny jokes, books, articles and/or watch media each day.
  • Remember funny stories and/or events in your mind in great detail until it has you laughing out loud.
  • Watch yourself in the mirror and start laughing (even if it’s pretend) and shortly you will be laughing at yourself. The key is not to look away. It may feel silly at first, but it is silly so laugh!
  • Surround yourself with positive people in a positive atmosphere. Many people have learned to view their problems in a humorous light. Laughter is contagious and soon you’ll be viewing your situations in a lighter way.
  • Watch 100 Laughter Yoga Exercises on You Tube – yes there really is Laughter Yoga. There are four steps in Laughter Yoga: clapping, breathing, childlike exercises and laughter exercises.

Laughter is the best medicine

“A cheerful heart is good medicine.” Proverbs 17:22

Intentionally practicing daily humor enables you take control of your life and quickly deal with daily stressors. To begin the transition into living a laughter lifestyle, choose to be around funny people, read humorous stories and watch hilarious movies.

Laughter is known to prevent, heal and slow down disease as well as improve the immune system. A good hearty laugh reduces tension and pain. Taking a few minutes every day to have a robust belly laugh improves your physical, mental and emotional well-being.

So stop what you’re doing, watch a funny show or spend time with that one friend who always make you laugh. Practicing deep belly laughter can become habit-forming and infectious spreading from you and back to you. You’ll find yourself smiling more, laughing more at yourself and with yourself.

Source by Deborah Campbell

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