Did you know that laughter is good for your health? Of course you do. Who hasn’t heard the expression ‘laughter is the best medicine’.
During an interfaith banquet, a Catholic priest told a Rabbi: “When are you going to give up your antiquated customs and eat some of this delicious ham?” The Rabbi replied: “At your wedding, Father.”
Now many of you won’t get the joke. Others of you will. A few of you will laugh, others won’t. But hey I did my best to bring you a little bit of humour and make you laugh.
But why? Am I so desperate to get you to keep coming back to read future posts that I think I now need to entertain you through telling jokes rather than coaching you on healthy lifestyle matters. No. Truthfully, it’s because I know humour and particularly laughter is good for your health.
Anyway, we are all bombarded with so much worrying news, who wouldn’t be a little scared with what is going on in North Korea or the potential reaction of President Trump where he potentially will fan his plumage and strut his stuff like a peacock. Anyway, I digress and certainly don’t want to create any further excessive despair at the world’s ills. At least a bit of humour allows a time for escapism.
Back to the purpose of this article.
Laughter is good for your health both physically and emotionally.
An old Yiddish proverb says, “What soap is to the body, laughter is to the soul.”
Let’s look at the potential health benefits of laughing
Laughter causes a physiological response that protects the body from disease and help your vital organs repair themselves. It has been reported that a good laugh gets the blood flowing, decreases blood pressure and stress hormones, improves sleep patterns and boosts the immune system. Furthermore, a study by the John Hopkins University Medical School showed that humor and laughter can also improve memory and mental performance. Another report tells us it can increase the length of our life.
Hey, it is also something every one of us likes doing. Even now, after 40 years, when I watch John Belushi in the cafeteria scene, in the movie national lampoon animal house saying ‘ Guess What I Am? A Giant ZIT,’ I still laugh uncontrollably. You would have to watch the movie to know what I’m talking about, and I bet if you have you’ll be laughing just at the memory.
Let’s overview the reasons laughter is good for your health.
Physical health benefits of laughter
• Boosts immune system
• Lowers stress hormones
• Increases infection-fighting antibodies
• Reduces pain
• Relaxes your muscles
• Prevents heart disease
• Triggers the release of endorphins
Mental health benefits of laughter
• Adds some joy to your life
• Relaxes you
• Relieves stress
• Improves mood
• Strengthens resilience
• Shifts perspective
• Makes you feel good
Social benefits of laughter
• Strengthens relationships
• Brings people together
• Attracts others to us
• Boosts collaboration
• Helps neutralize conflict
• Promotes community connection
• Entertains others
These are just an example of the myriad of benefits laughter brings to your life and hopefully a reminder to each of you to find the time to do something that potentially is going to make you laugh, hopefully a big belly laugh, where you find yourself crying uncontrollably.
Even in the most difficult of times, a laugh–or even simply a smile–can go a long way toward making you feel better. And laughter really is contagious—just hearing laughter primes your brain and readies you to smile and join in the fun.
Before you go off to find your friends and tell jokes to encourage them, let me give you a warning. Laughter through jokes is erratic. Everyone has their own penchants when it comes to sense of humor. A joke that makes one person laugh might make another person groan and potentially offend them.
I wrote a joke in a community newsletter. The reactions were mixed. Some laughed some didn’t. Some believed it was inappropriate while others have shared it with others.
A sniper had President Trump in his sites. The sun reflected off the barrel and it was spotted by the president’s bodyguard. As the sniper’s finger went towards the trigger the bodyguard shouted ‘Mickey Mouse, Mickey Mouse’. The rifle fired and the president was assassinated. When questioned to his reaction the remorseful bodyguard said I meant to shout ‘Donald Duck.’
Funny or not?
Worth a laugh, perhaps not.
Never said I was a comedian.
Yet, having given just a little bit of humour to you today, I may well have contributed to a slight improvement in your health, hey I may have extended your life.
Of course there are other ways to have a laugh.
• Hearing a funny story
• Watching a Funny movie
• Someone doing something silly
• Being tickled
• Seeing loved ones and friends giggling hysterically.
Now go and have a great day, and please, remember to find a reason to laugh every day.
Let me know, what makes you laugh?
“The human race has only one really effective weapon, and that’s laughter. The moment it arises, all our hardnesses yield, all irritations and resentment slips away, and a sunny spirit takes their place.” Mark Twain
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