"Laughter is the best medicine" is a phrase that dates back to biblical times as an old Proverb, and it's still widely used today all over the world. There’s even a section of the Reader’s Digest by that title that has been going for as long as I have read the magazine (and that's a WHILE!)
We say it and use it simply because it's true!
You may wonder why I always close my blog post out with a touch of humor. Well wonder no more: it’s because laughter is good for us! Not to mention, sometimes life hands us a lot that isn’t even remotely funny and sometimes our brain just needs to unwind a bit with a funny joke, picture or meme.
Let’s face it, I like me some science and I love to let my readers know what’s really going on inside of us. This week, let's take a look at what happens inside your body, mind, and spirit when you laugh.
Laughter's Effect on Your Body
Endorphins are feel-good chemicals that are released throughout your body when you laugh, stimulating muscles, nerves, organs and tissues. Studies show these endorphins give relief to chronic pain, help to relieve stress and promote functioning of the immune system. Laughter literally helps heal your body.
I heard a story about guy that was in the hospital with a critical illness. Every morning, the nurse brought him a cup to fill to check his urine. One morning, the gentleman took his morning apple juice and put it into the cup.
The nurse walked in, grabbed the cup and held it up to the light. “Wow,” she said “This doesn’t look so good this morning!”
The patient grabbed the cup and said “well, let’s run it through again!” and drank it down!
Can you just imagine the look on the nurse’s face?!? This is a man I would LOVE to meet one day!
It just goes to show that laughter and humor can be found, no matter how serious the circumstances.
Laughter and Your Mind
Happy thoughts lead to a more positive outlook on life. When you're hanging out with friends and having good conversations that produce smiles and laughter, your mind is producing happy thoughts.
On the other hand, if you're always around people who never smile and always find something to complain about, you'll lean toward a more negative outlook on life.
Jim Rohn said “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” It you’re sick and tired of being sick and tired, stop hanging around with sick and tired people!
Oh, if it were only that simple, right?
We spend most of our waking hours at work, so what if that negative person is your boss? Or your closest coworker? Can’t just ditch those people, can we?
No, but we can mitigate their effect on us. We are a product of our own decisions, and we get to DECIDE our reaction to circumstances.
I had a grandmother who was a bit “crusty” around the edges. You’d think a woman who birthed ten children would have developed some people skills by the time I came around, but no, no she didn’t. Instead of being hurt by her comments, I chose to be amused by them.
I mean, that woman's crankiness took EFFORT, so why not marvel at her persistence?
Brush off the negativity; move on with life; and don’t let the turkeys get you down. And there are a lot of turkeys.
Boosting Your Spirits
Laughter causes a lift in your spirits, helping you feel uplifted. Laughter not only helps you personally, it's also very contagious and infectious, which helps those around you feel less stressed and anxious.
Don't you just love it when you hear a baby or toddler laugh? What happens to you? You can't help but laugh too! Laughter begins to develop in humans as early as 3 months of age and a baby's laughter is one of the most contagious of all human sounds.
I’m smiling as I write this, just thinking about those great, big, belly laughs that babies have.
Laughter and Your Relationships
When two people share a funny story or a silly situation arises between two people, there's a unique bonding that is created. Something special is formed between the two that only they can relate with. It's an inside joke that is special to those who've shared in the moment.
When two people spend a lot of time together in laughter, a stronger, more ever-lasting relationship develops.
In a marriage, studies show couples that laugh together stay together much longer, if not for life. Think about a truly happy couple you know. Sure, every family has their issues and marriage takes work, but chances are they spend a lot of time laughing together. This doesn't happen by accident. It can be created and fostered!
I know in both my family and my husband’s family, there is a TON of laughter! We poke fun at each other, we share stories of our everyday lives with a humorous twist, and we retell those funny stories over and over again – and they still make us laugh!
A couple of weekends ago, I was eating breakfast with my parents when my dad asked me the full name of the guy who designed the Eiffel Tower (it was a crossword puzzle clue). My mother, who was born and raised in France, remarked “I don’t know why he thought I would know!” In the blink of an eye, I looked at my father and said “after all, it wasn’t built when she left”, implying that my mother was very old.
I know it probably isn’t nearly as funny to you all, but we all died laughing. I mean, full-on, tears streaming down our face, laughing. That is the stuff that becomes the glue that holds families together.
When you choose to embrace laughter, you'll be able to get through many more rough spots in life and come out a happier and healthier person.
Life can be tough, so why not choose to make it more joyous? You can if you choose to.
Always try to find joy in every situation and laugh as often as possible each and every day. Also, by spending more time around positive people, who love life and love to laugh, you'll be amazed at how you begin to feel on the inside and out!
Leaving you with this from the lighter side: Research has shown that laughing for two minutes is as healthy as a 20-minute jog. Now I sit in the park and laugh at all the joggers!