How Laughter Fights Stress & Promotes Healing
Laughter Is the Best Medicine
Have you ever noticed how you feel good and relaxed after a hearty laugh?
It’s not just an impression; a good laugh can do wonders for you. Scientists have proven that laughter is a wonderful healing tool; a free and fun way to improve your quality of life and decrease stress. That’s why humor and laughter are being used more and more in many therapeutic circumstances.
Laughing often and looking at things with humor are antidotes for stress, pain, and conflict. Your sense of humor is the best tool to keep your stress to the minimum and your emotions in good health.
Laughter is a wonderful natural medicine for both mind and body, and it’s free, 100% organic, and has no known negative side effects.
Laughter Therapy, a Powerful Stress Reliever and Healing Technique
Laughter is so powerful that there even is an official mental health therapy called laughter technique in which laughter is employed as a tool to achieve well-being by mental health therapists around the world, which incorporate laughter therapy into their practices and healing techniques.
Stress therapy research shows that laughter therapy is a great way to release tension. While it is almost impossible to trigger laughter in a person that is deeply sad or disturbed, learning to laugh at your problems and look at things with humor are valuable parts of the therapy process.
Many hospitals and ambulatory care centers have incorporated humor material and programs to make people laugh. Numerous hospitals use volunteer groups, clowns, or comedians that visit patients with the specific purpose to provide opportunities for laughter.
How Laughter Benefits Our Body
Scientific researches show that laughter has multiple beneficial effects on our brain and body, recognizing the tremendous power of laughter and its efficacy as the best prescription for wellness.
Every time you laugh you are activating all kinds of positive effects in our body.
- Lowers blood pressure
- Increases muscle relaxation
- Boosts the immune system
- Lowers stress hormones
- Increases the release of endorphins, the body’s natural pain-killers that are released by your brain
- Creates a general feeling of well-being
- Reduces at least four of the endocrine hormones associated with stress: epinephrine, cortisol, dopamine, and growth hormone
- By enhancing your intake of oxygen-rich air, laughter stimulates many organs, like your heart, lungs and muscles
Laughter Burns Some Calories Too
Maciej Buchowski, a researcher from Vanderbilt University, conducted a small study in which he measured the amount of calories expended in laughing. It turned out that 10-15 minutes of laughter burned 50 calories.
One pioneer in laughter research, William Fry, claimed it took ten minutes on a rowing machine for his heart rate to reach the level it would after just one minute of hearty laughter.
Find Ways to Laugh Every Day
The ability to laugh easily and frequently is a fabulous resource for overcoming problems, heightening relationships, and maintaining physical and emotional health.
Here are some ideas and tips to keep your lifestyle fun, full of giggles, and stress-free:
- Surrender to silliness, just let go. Let your inner child take over and do silly things.
- Do fun things with childhood abandon; simple and childish things, like spinning in circles, go on the merry-go-round or splash in rain puddles.
- Have a pillow fight with friends and family. A good pillow fight not only triggers laughs but helps release tension also through physical exertion. If a pillow fight is too intense, have a balloon fight instead.
- Dance a little jig, leap around your living room, pump up your favorite rhythm on the speakers and have a dancing rave.
- Learn ten hilarious jokes and one-liners with some variety, so you can use them on different occasions to brighten up a party, entertain children, or lift someone’s spirit.
- Tickle someone, laughter is infectious, as long as the victim does not mind too much – but be prepared to be tickled back!
- Blow bubbles while doing a chore, like washing dishes; allow yourself to enjoy the activity and admire the colorful reflections on the bubbles.
- Practice your whistling. It’s cheerful and relaxing.
- Sing out loud, in the shower, in the car, while working… assuming your colleagues don’t mind.
- Call yourself and leave a funny and positive message on your answering machine. Do it to someone else too.
- Bring humor every day to your job, don’t be afraid to make (appropriate) jokes and instill humor into your business relationships. Business negotiations can gain a lot from some lightheartedness and a few laughs.
- Sign up to receive jokes or funny photos of the day through email, Facebook, or other social media.
- Join a Laughter Yoga Club.
- Watch comedies, read comics and funny books.
- Play games that create ridiculous situations like Twister or Charades, or have a silly face contest with your friends.
- Decide to be happy today no matter what or who. It is in your power to be happy.
Know What Isn't Funny
It's OK to find the humor in serious stuff and laugh about yourself or tricky situations, but some forms of humor aren't appropriate. Don't laugh at the expense of others. Use your best judgment to recognize a good joke from an inappropriate or hurtful one.
Join a Laughter Yoga Clubs
Did you know you can join a club that meets each day for a good belly laugh? These clubs practice the Laughter Yoga method of laughing for no reason as a form of exercise.
It is shown that while our brain recognizes sincere laugh from forced laugh, our body cannot; thus you can achieve the same physical benefits forcing yourself to laugh.
Laughter Yoga Clubs were started in India by a physician, Dr. Madan Kataria, in 1995. Today the Laughter Movement has become a global phenomenon, with over 6000 clubs in 60 countries.
To find a club near you visit laughteryoga.org
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
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© 2012 Robie Benve