Laughter really is the best medicine

Posted on April 7, 2008. Filed under: Fitness, health, wellbeing | Tags: , , |

Years ago I trained as a Happiness Facilitator, now I know that sounds like something a little crazy, but it was the forerunner of a lot of the personal development seminars and workshops that are around today. During the training I was to teach everyone how to laugh, yes, teach them how to laugh. Most people giggle, titter and smirk but few really laugh, a full rolling belly laugh. I was really good at it and can still laugh, so hard without any prompting that everyone else has to join in, they can’t help it. It’s like yawning when one person starts to laugh really hard, is becomes catching and soon spreads itself around. I loved that part of the training and the rest of the training always ended on such a high not.

Now there is research proving how good a good laugh is for you, some of the health benefits include:

Health Benefits

  • People who have a good sense of humour and can chill out enjoy better health
  • A few minutes of laughter lowers stress hormones and raises the number of circulating antibodies, which fight off disease for almost 36 hours – Paul Pearsall- The Pleasure Prescription
  • BIG Smiles resets the neurochemistry of the brain toward more positive emotions – see Dr Bruce Liptons work with cellular biology.
  • According to Dr. Lee S. Berk from Lorna Linda University, California, USA, laughter helps to increase the count of natural killer cells (NK cells – a type of white cell) and also raises the antibody levels. Researchers have found that after laughter therapy there is an increase in antibodies (Immunoglobulin A) in the mucous on the nose and respiratory passages, which is believed to have a protective capacity against some viruses. Bacteria and other micro organisms.
  • Increases the endorphins from the brain, which assist in managing pain
  • Strengthens the lungs and helps with breathing problems and respiratory conditions
  • Laughter can be compared to any aerobic exercises except you don’t have to wear fancy shoes or clothes. You don’t need to sweat hard on the jogging tracks. According to Dr. William Fry from Standford University, one minute of laughter is equal to 10 minutes on the rowing machine. In other words, laughter stimulates heart and blood circulation and is equivalent to any other standard aerobic exercise
  • Lowers Blood Pressure
  • 10minutes of laughter can give 2 hours of pain free sleep- Norman Cousins- Anatomy of an Illness
  • We start laughing at 10 weeks old. By 16 weeks we laugh at least once an hour and by four, we’re cackling about once every 4 minutes. By the time we get to fifty, the average adult laughs about 15 times a day if they’re lucky – Professor Fry
  • Laughter improves team building, communication skills and self esteem
  • Laughter is one of the best muscle relaxants. Laughter expands blood vessels and sends more blood to the extremities and other muscles all over the body.
  • Laughter exercises the abdominal muscles and helps to improve muscle tone of those with pot bellies.

It’s time to have a laugh on me:tssss-ssss-heee-haaa...


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2 Responses to “Laughter really is the best medicine”

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really? can you teach me how to laugh? I laugh a lot, but not really feel the benefits …

Hi Beverly, perhaps you are ‘laugh a lot’ as a way to cover the pain you feel inside? This is what many fo us do, so mask any sadness or anger we feel inside.

Laughing even in this way is healthy, however to really feel the benefits of laughter, you need to find a way to resolve the pain. I cannot really help you in this forum, but I would recommend getting some counseling or finding a good NLP coach.

The only thing I can recommend through this forum is to try to look at whatever memories are holding you back from enjoying your own laughter and try to find at least one positive life lesson from them, e.g. did you learn you were stronger than you ever knew? did you learn a lesson that has benefited you later? If we seek out the positive lesson in difficult memories, it can help us to let go of the pain.

Keep laughing Beverly I am sure you bring joy to others.

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