For years my husband would pull his face, thinking I was mad when I would say I needed a really good laugh, until we both ended up on the same course, and we had to identify the needs that were important to us. Laughter was high on my agenda. He just didn’t get it! That’s not to say he is a grump; he’s not, I have spent years laughing with him (and at him), but I just don’t think he realized how therapeutic it is.
Laughter is a powerful antidote to stress, pain, and conflict. Nothing works faster or more dependably to bring your mind and body back into balance than a good laugh. Humour lightens your burdens, inspires hope, connects you to others, and keeps you grounded, focused and ‘alive.’
Humour is infectious. The sound of roaring laughter is far more contagious than any cough or sneeze! When laughter is shared, it binds people together and increases happiness and intimacy. In addition to the domino effect of joy and amusement, laughter also triggers healthy physical changes in the body. It is a fact that humour and laughter strengthen your immune system, boost your energy and protect you from the damaging effects of stress. Best of all, this priceless medicine is fun, free and easy to use!
A good, hearty laugh really is good for your health; it relaxes the whole body leaving muscles relaxed for up to 45 minutes after. It also triggers the release of endorphins, the body’s natural painkillers and promotes an overall sense of well being and can even temporarily relieve pain, whilst also improving the function of blood vessels and increase blood flow, which can help protect against heart attack and other cardio vascular problems.
So there you go… laughter really is the best medicine… unless you’re asthmatic of course – then it’s ventolin!
Researchers at the University of Michigan have also calculated that just 20 seconds of laughter could be as good for the lungs as three minutes spent on a rowing machine. I incorporate humour in my WeightWatchers meetings and we always enjoy a good laugh for one reason or another. My members will be delighted to learn we are all doing a workout whilst sitting having a chat.
So now we know all the benefits, let’s not take ourselves so seriously.
We’ve all known the classic tight- jawed sourpuss who takes everything with deathly seriousness and never laughs at anything. No fun there! Clearly some events are sad and not occasions for laughter. However, most events in life don’t carry an overwhelming sense of either sadness or delight. They fall into the grey zone of ordinary life, giving you the choice to laugh or not.
Did you know that children laugh about 400 times a day whereas adults manage a miserable 15? Come on; let’s give those kids a run for their money!
Laughter really does make you feel good even after the laughter subsides. Humour helps you keep a positive, optimistic outlook through difficult situations, disappointments and loss.
Last week, after my husband had been out with his football friends, I went to pick him up. I saw him staggering down the road with one foot on the kerb and the other in the gutter. I stopped the car, got out and said furiously, “You’re drunk,” to which he replied “Thank God! I thought I was injured.”