Laughter Is The Best Medicine And Here Are The Reasons Why
Authored by William G. DeFoore, Ph.D.
You've heard that laughter is the best medicine many times, but have you ever found out exactly why? It actually benefits everything about you, and ultimately that includes your relationships with others.
You will find that laughter is good for your body, your mind and your social connections. To get started, watch this cute baby with a wonderful laugh...you'll definitely be smiling all the way through!
Laughter Is The Best Medicine For Your Body
Have you ever noticed what your body is doing when you laugh? When it's a good, deep belly laugh, you're literally exercising your gut and diaphragm, pushing air out to make those chuckles and guffaws.
This is also followed by a release of tension and a greater sense of relaxation. As a matter of fact, some people deliberately laugh to ease tension in stressful situations.
Here are some benefits for your body:
When you're laughing, you're moving energy in your body, and that's always a good thing. The body is designed to benefit from the flow of energy in respiration, digestion and circulation, and laughter contributes to all of these functions. Laughter actually improves heart health.
Laughter actually helps to regulate hunger hormones, which of course can help if you're trying to lose weight or maintain a good relationship with food and eating.
Giggles, snickers, chuckles and guffaws will also boost your immune system and therefore help you avoid getting sick and recover more quickly when you have any kind of physical challenge.
A good laugh with a friend or two can also release endorphins into your blood stream, leading to a whole array of good, strong, positive emotions.
And finally, laughing has been found to decrease bad cholesterol and increase beneficial cholesterol. What's not to like about that?
I think it would be true that most of us would like to laugh more. But a lot of things get in the way of laughter, and we'll look at those factors at the end of this page.
Laughter Is The Best Medicine For Your Mind
Want to keep your good memory (or get it back)? Laughing hard and often will help, and here's why. Being worried and focusing on what's wrong is a "no-brainer," meaning it uses very little of your brilliant mind capacity.
To think of something funny, to remember a joke, or to tell a joke requires as much mental activity as is required to do some of the healthy brain teaser exercises designed to keep your mind healthy and functioning well (like the amount of mental activity you had to go through to read this incredibly long sentence...).
Here are the mental health benefits of laughter:
Increases brain function. A great sense of humor will actually help you to avoid many of the mental decline that often goes along with aging, for example.
Enhances learning processes. You are naturally more open to new information and ideas when you're relaxed and having a good time. Every great teacher knows this, and regularly incorporates humor into her/his teaching processes.
Improves your resilience. The sooner you can get to the humorous side of things after a loss, illness or tragedy, the more quickly you will recover.
Relieves stress, anxiety and fear. You will automatically feel more safe and at ease when you start laughing. It's a message to your entire system that things are not all that bad, and possibly even very good.
Improves your mood. You know those feelings of gloom that show up sometimes? Well, laughter is the best medicine for the mood shift you're looking for.
Laughing alone is great...but the best is when you're laughing with your friends and family. So now let's look at how all this goes with your relationships and social connections.
Laughter Is The Best Medicine For Your Social Life
You know as well as I do that people love to hang around with the folks that are fun and funny, and keep them laughing.
You can be one of those, if you aren't already. Here are the social benefits of laughter:
You'll be more attractive, regardless of your physical appearance. Laughter is contagious and it's also magnetic, drawing others to you quite naturally.
People will feel better after being with you, which will make them want to see you again.
You'll be less likely to experience conflict when you're having fun and relaxed. The humor has to be friendly, of course, and not the kind that has a victim.
Avoid too much sarcasm, mocking and teasing in your humor. You won't do well if folks are laughing on the outside and hurting on the inside. Develop friendly humor where nobody comes out a loser.
You will be more open to other people's ideas and differences, because when you're laughing you let your defenses down and you're more likely to enjoy them as they are.
When you know you're likely to laugh and have fun when you socialize with others, you're more likely to put in th effort to extend invitations and take initiative to engage in social activities.
Keep in mind here that most of the happiness studies show that the most happy people are those who spend the most time with good friends.
I think you can now see why laughter is the best medicine. And that's not all...there are many more benefits of laughter that we haven't touched on here.