“The most wasted of all days is one without laughter.” – E. E. Cummings
Have you ever heard of laughter therapy? It’s a real thing, truly. I found this on the Cancer Treatment Centers of America website:
Laughter therapy, also called humor therapy, is the use of humor to promote overall health and wellness. It aims to use the natural physiological process of laughter to help relieve physical or emotional stresses or discomfort.
Admit it. After a long, full belly laugh you feel good. Even if you snort lemonade out your nose from laughing so hard, you feel the oxygen flowing through your blood. You’re rejuvenated!
Because I am extra-sensitive to moods, I’ve found that watching a funny movie or video can lift me out of doldrums. I’m not saying it’s easy, especially when in the depths of grief or when you’ve lost touch with yourself. Laughter is beautiful and it can’t help but touch us in a positive way. One of my favorite sounds is baby giggles. If you ever feel blue, do a search on YouTube for “baby giggles” and a list will pop up that will surely wash the blues away.
Laughter can combat anger, grief and heartbreak. Basically anything negative can be alleviated with a good laugh. The following scene from the film Steel Magnolias is a perfect example:
No matter how many times I watch that movie, I cry during that scene, but it lifts me up as well.
Laughter isn’t only beneficial for emotional well-being. “[S]tudies have revealed that episodes of laughter helped to reduce pain, decrease stress-related hormones and boost the immune system in participants.”
- Laughter relaxes the whole body. A good, hearty laugh relieves physical tension and stress, leaving your muscles relaxed for up to 45 minutes after.
- Laughter boosts the immune system. Laughter decreases stress hormones and increases immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies, thus improving your resistance to disease.
- Laughter 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.
- Laughter protects the heart. Laughter improves the function of blood vessels and increases blood flow, which can help protect you against a heart attack and other cardiovascular problems.
Whether you go for laughter yoga or indulge in a sitcom, remember that laughing is good for you. Don’t horde your laughter either. Make someone else laugh. And remember, you don’t have to be crude to be funny. If you can deliver a line like Mitch, you’re a natural comedian.