May - Jun 2015

So Get Laughing Folks

By Pamela Shenk, CHt

 

Looking for a “magic pill” to heal your mind and body? You may not need it. Turns out, laughter may be your best medicine.

 

A sense of humor could mean a longer, healthier life. According to a recent study, published in the International Journal of Psychiatry in Medicine, those with a sense of humor are healthier and more likely to reach retirement age than others.

 

And there’s more evidence that a good dose of laughter and humor has a positive effect on your health. For instance, research shows that we can increase our heart rate after one minute of hearty laughter, where it may take 10 minutes on a rowing machine.

 

And don’t underestimate the sheer physical effect laughter has on our body. After all, laughter is fundamentally a physical action. The muscles of the diaphragm have to work very hard to forcefully push air from our lungs. So you can think of prolonged laughter as a pleasant workout. Also keep in mind, when you laugh, it actually creates a physical change in your body. You take in more oxygen and that reduces your stress level.

 

It has been discovered that laughter may ease your pain by releasing your body’s natural painkillers. Laughter may also take your mind off of what has been hurting you. And, when the laughter stops, often the pain is not as severe, or maybe even gone. Laughter can have a similar effect on sadness and loneliness.

 

Humor may also raise the level of infection-fighting antibodies in the body and boost your levels of immune cells as well.

 

And best of all, laughter can be a healthy part of your social experience too. That’s why being with family and friends and having a good laugh is beneficial in many ways. First, you’re socializing and that’s good. Secondly, it helps you to forget some of the issues that may have been making you sad or causing discomfort.

 

If you find yourself lacking in the humor department, don’t fret yet. Just like anything else it can be learned and improved.

 

But, you can always watch a funny program on television or the movies, or invite your friends and family over for a good laugh.

 

And why not…laughter is FREE!

 

Remember, Live, Laugh and Love