We’ve all probably heard the saying ‘laughter is the best medicine’ and the Irish proverb ‘a good laugh and a long sleep are the two best cures for anything.’
As we get older, though, we tend to laugh less as we get caught up in the serious business of life. Just think of how often a baby smiles and giggles on a daily basis or how often children who are playing and having fun laugh? I’m guessing it’s a lot more than we do on a daily basis.
But there are huge benefits to laughing on a physical and emotional level — benefits that can be crucial in helping to heal a chronic condition. Here are some ways that laughter can help us get a healthy, happy glow:
Laughing makes us healthy by…
- …easing stress, anxiety and fear. Laughter helps us be in the present moment and therefore our fears for the future or stresses about the past are momentarily put aside.
- …relaxing muscles and relieving tension. Who needs a massage Just have a good giggle!
- …improving blood flow and boosting your immunity.
- …releasing endorphins (feel-good chemicals), which are natural pain relievers. In fact, studies have shown that laughter can increase your pain tolerance thanks to those endorphins.
- …strengthening your abdominal muscles!
Laughing makes us happy by…
- …contributing to a greater sense of well-being and a better perceived quality of life.
- …helping us when we’re faced with challenges or disappointments. Having a sense of humor is associated with greater resilience and an ability to cope with and bounce back from setbacks quicker.
- …bringing people together and strengthening relationships. Humor and shared laughter can induce feelings of connection and positive emotions and can defuse uncomfortable situations.
Laughter makes us glow by…
- …making us beautiful and attractive. People who have a good sense of humor are often deemed more desirable and the ability to laugh — and make others laugh — is said to increase your sex appeal. Usually a good sense of humor is one of the traits that people say they’d like in their ideal partner.
How can we laugh more? Here are some suggestions:
- A laugh begins with a smile.
- Watch more programs that get you chuckling.
- Go and see a comedy show!
- Read books or comics that make you laugh.
- Listen to some light-hearted comedy podcasts.
- Try a laughter yoga class. Yup, it’s a real thing!
- Spend time with people who make you laugh. I’m lucky, I live with the person who gets me laughing every single day!
- Loosen up… don’t take things too seriously. Try to see the lighter side of life. Experiment and see if you can see the funny side of situations.
- Playing with animals or children is a great place to start! Or find somebody who you can get silly with. What was your favorite thing to do as a kid? What delighted you? Maybe it was playing board games, or riding your bike, or making sandcastles on the beach. Engage in those activities with someone who enjoys them as well.
Find out more ways that laughter can help you become healthier in this book The Laughing Guide to Well-Being: Using Humor and Science to Become Happier and Healthier
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Note: PLEASE consult with your doctor before making any changes to your diet or medications. The material on this site is provided for educational purposes only, and is not to be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.