Friday, 4 May 2012
The Health Benefits of Laughter
Laughter is strong medicine for both mind and body. You can depend on it to bring your mind and body back into balance if they are out of kilter. Laughter lightens your burdens, inspires hopes, connects you to others, keeps you grounded, focused and alert. The ability to laugh easily and frequently is a powerful way of overcoming problems, enhancing your relationships, and providing support for your physical and emotional health.
Laughter is good for your physical health in the following ways: it relaxes the whole body by relieving physical tension and stress; it decreases stress hormones and increases immune cells, thereby improving your resistance to disease; it releases endorphins, which are the body’s feel-good chemicals, to give you an overall sense of well-being; and it protects the heart by increasing the function of blood vessels which helps increase blood flow to that vital organ.
The mental health benefits of laughter can be listed as follows: it adds joy and zest to life; it helps ease anxiety and fear in most situations; it relieves stress; it improves overall mood; and it enhances resilience. The mental health benefits work hand-in-hand with the physical ones.
There are further benefits to engaging in laughter regularly in group situations, as follows: it strengthens relationships; it attracts others to us; it enhances teamwork; it helps defuse conflict; and it helps promote group bonding. I have heard of some good football and rugby union coaches in the UK who use it regularly to lighten the load and increase overall team spirit.
You can take some constructive steps to bring laughter into your life. These are examples of situations where it can be used positively: smile as often as you can at people, or in funny situations; count your blessings rather than your woes, which create negative thoughts and are a barrier to laughter; move towards people in a group who are engaging in laughter; seek out and spend time with funny people; bring humour into your conversations with people.
Moreover, you can do the following:
· Laugh at yourself by highlighting embarrassing moments.
· Attempt to laugh at situations rather than bemoan them; strive to look for the funny side of absurd situations.
· Surround yourself with reminders of people or events that help to lighten your thoughts.
· Keep things in their proper perspective and don’t go around as if you had the weight of the world on your shoulders.
· Deal promptly and correctly to resolve any stress issues in your life.
· Actively play with your children or grand- children in a light-hearted manner in order to create an everlasting bond with them that they will remember for the rest of their lives.
I hope you now realize what humour and laughter can do for your physical, mental and emotional health. I will conclude this post with a quote that I recently heard from somewhere: “...do everything in life in moderation except laughter”.