When was the last time that you had a really good laugh? A couple of weeks ago? A few months ago? Or too long ago to recall? If so, you need to more consciously bring humor and laughter into your life.
Laughter seems to be such a natural part of life for kids. Chasing each other on a playground, splashing in a swimming pool, or watching a silly dance by Mr. Noodle can all prompt a burst of laughter. It is sad that when we grow up, the brightness of laughter starts to fade in the fabric of our life. We are taking everything with seriousness and try to be cool, except occasionally having a polite fake laugh at jokes told by our boss, which we may not actually consider funny. One day, as we look at ourselves in the mirror, we may ask such questions, “What happened? Can I still laugh?”
Have you heard the saying, “Laughter is the best medicine?” When we are laughing less, we are carrying more burden of stress and ill-health. Laughter is associated with many bio-chemical reactions of our body, such as relaxed muscle tone, and increased heart rate, respiratory rate and oxygen consumption. These reactions have various medical benefits. Evidence has suggested that laughter plays a complementary therapeutic role in general patient care, critical care, and terminal and palliative care.
Even though laughter is not equal to happiness, the bio-chemical reactions related to laughter have positive effects in reducing stress, anxiety and depression. Laughter helps us relax and recharge. Stress related hormones such as cortisol, dopac, epinephrines, and growth hormone show a reduction after viewing a humor video. Humor and laughter in high stress workplaces can help promote creativity, productivity, motivation, and morale.
Laughter is also helpful in improving physical health. Mirthful laughter has short term “aerobic exercise” like effects, including muscle contractions, sharply fast and sporadic deep breathing, increased heart-rate. Besides, laughter plays a positive role in pain reduction, immunity improvement, blood pressure reduction, and cardiovascular health.
Laughter won’t change any challenges or hardships that we may have in life- they still exist anyway, but it helps us to face and deal with these issues with more positive attitude and decreased anxiety. Probably now it is time to learn from kids and see the lighter side of life. There must be something that can make you laugh. How about just go to a park and watch kids play? Laughter is contagious. 🙂
Agarwal, SK. Therapeutic benefits of laughter. Med Sci. 2014; 12(46): 19-23.
Berk LS, Tan SA, Fry WF, et al. Neuroendocrine and stress hormone changes during mirthful laugher. Am J Med Sci. 1989; 298: 390-6.