Laughter really can be the best medicine. Laughter and humor can and does enhance our overall well-being. Humor is the ability to find joy and amusement in life, while laughter is the body’s way of expressing what is found humorous. Humor can give us a more lighthearted perspective on problems in life and can help take your mind off discomforts and stress. Humor and laughter are a state of the mind, body and soul. They can encourage a positive and hopeful attitude, give a sense of perspective on problems in life and can help take your mind off discomforts and stress. You can’t feel anxious, angry, or sad when you’re laughing. As Bill Cosby says, "If you can laugh at it, you can survive it".
Benefits of Humor
Humor and laughter are not only enjoyable; they can and do enhance our overall well-being and promote health. Studies have shown that adding humor and laughter to your life can lead to many positive health benefits. Humor and laughter can:
· Reduce stress, anxiety and muscle tension- A good, hearty laugh relieves physical tension and stress, leaving your muscles relaxed for up to 45 minutes after.
· Increase pain tolerance triggers the release of endorphins, the body’s natural feel-good chemicals. Endorphins promote an overall sense of well-being and can even temporarily relieve pain.
· Enhance the immune system - Laughter decreases stress hormones and increases immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies, thus improving your resistance to disease.
· Improve food digestion
· Relax arteries - resulting in increased blood flow and decreased blood pressure
· Be an internal workout - A strong laugh also gives the muscles of your face, shoulders, diaphragm and abdomen a good workout. Laughter burns up as many calories per hour as brisk walking.
Tips to Add Humor to Your Life
Think about whom you laugh with, what you find funny, and where and when you feel most happy. Then put yourself in those situations. Try the following to help create opportunities to laugh:
· Watch comedies on television, or go see a funny movie.
· Listen to comedy audiotapes in your car while driving.
· Learn to laugh at yourself.
· Read cartoons, joke books or funny novels.
· Do something silly, like making funny faces at yourself in the mirror.
· Collect cartoons and jokes that you like.
· Surround yourself with others. People tend to laugh more in groups than when they are alone.
· Goof around with children. The average child laughs 400 times a day while the average adult laughs 15 times a day.
· Go to a "laughter yoga" class.
· Seek out funny people.
· Share a good joke or funny story.
· Check out your bookstore’s humor section.
Most importantly, think about whom you laugh with, what you find funny, and where and when you feel most happy. Then put yourself in those situations.
Medicine is the Best Laughter, by G. Bosker
Medicine is the Best Laughter: A Second Dose, by G. Bosker
A Treasury of Texas Humor, by B. Cannon
Laughter, the Best Medicine: More than 600 Jokes, Gags & Laugh Lines for All Occasions From America’s Most Popular Magazine, by Reader’s Digest
You’re Only Old Once, by Dr. Seuss
Patch Adams, by Universal Studios.
Plenty of Pretty Good Jokes, by Prairie Home Companion
World Laughter Tour