Laughter is the Best Medicine
There is nothing that I enjoy more than a good laugh. And it’s even better if it’s the kind of laugh that makes me laugh so hard and so long that my sides begin to hurt and I have tears stream down my cheeks. Now that’s what I call a good laugh. That kind of laughter makes me feel good. It’s actually a kind of a release of emotions and perhaps even a release of tension or stress that you’ve been holding on to, and that’s always a good thing. But did you know that laughing is actually good for you? Health-wise, that is. That’s right. Here are a few ways in which laughter is good for you, and since I’m a retired registered nurse, I simply cannot write this entry without telling you what they are!
- Laughter has been shown to lower or balance blood pressure and increase vascular blood flow.
- Research has shown that when you laugh, the levels of stress hormones like cortisol and epinephrine which can suppress the immune system, tend to decrease. This helps to decrease stress and improve the immune functions of the body.
- Laughter can offer a burst of aerobic exercise. According to researchers, laughing 100 times is equivalent to 10 minutes on a rowing machine or 15 minutes on the stationary bicycle. Besides the spurt of internal energy, laughter can momentarily clear the respiratory system. Just like with exercise, people tend to take deep breaths in and out during heavy laughter, which helps unclog airways and enhances inhalation and oxygen intake.
- Laughing may positively affect blood glucose (sugar) levels. Researchers believe that laughter may impact the neuroendocrine system and restrain blood sugar levels from spiking, or it may cause the acceleration of glucose use by muscle motion.
- Laughter may be one of the best natural pain relievers around. Also, it may increase our tolerance for pain by releasing endorphins (peptides that offer a feeling of well-being and help with pain management).
- Laughter boosts our social skills by allowing us to connect with each other, bond, and communicate with each other.
- Laughter helps coping skills. It’s a wonderful way to deal with stress, to release tension. When life’s problems seem to just weigh us down, laughter can sometimes help the situation look just a little better.
- Laughter reduces aggression.
- Laughter energizes organs. It is even believed to aid in digestion. Your body experiences a boost of aerobic activity each time you laugh.
I do remember the last time I had a hearty, “ooh, my sides hurt because I laughed so hard” kind of laugh, and it was only last week, as a matter of fact. My daughter sent me a YouTube video clip entitled “First Moon Party.” I’ve included the clip below. I’ll let you watch it first and then I’ll tell you why it was so funny to me, but chances are that you’ll laugh just watching it, anyway:
This clip really caused the tears to stream down my cheeks because I was laughing so hard. If you watched it, you have to admit that the girl who played the part of the young teenager who just “became a woman,” so to speak, did an excellent job of portraying the role. And if you’re the mother of a daughter who has gone through this stage of adolescence, then you know the trials and tribulations of this period (pardon the pun) of life. I have two daughters whom I had to guide into “womanhood” and believe me, it was not an easy transition. As a matter of fact, one of them didn’t want to have anything to do with it. As for me, I couldn’t blame her. Not one bit. It’s rather a sad thing – having to give up your childhood, knowing that the carefree days of being innocent, having all your decisions made for you, having no responsibilities whatsoever, and being free to do whatever you wanted to do were almost over. But what I really loved about this video was the fact that my daughter sent it to me. Apparently she has not forgotten the day she “became a woman.” Maybe it wasn’t such a bad memory after all.
QUOTE OF THE DAY: “The most wasted of all days is one without laughter.” ~ e. e. cummings