Can laughter be a healthy supplement?
The first time I became aware that laughter could be therapeutic was when Norman Cousins, editor on the Saturday Review, got all the Laurel and Hardy and Three Stooges movies then started on a course of almost full time laughter. He had been diagnosed with an incurable cancer and decided if he was going to die anyway. He would rather go out laughing. The really funny ending to his plan was that after a good length of time watching those funny movies and laughing almost nonstop every waking moment, his incurable cancer was just gone. The cancer did not go into remission; it disappeared – it just was not there anymore. This is a great example of how to laugh a disease away!
Yes, your overall health will improve if you laugh a lot. Now I’m not talking about little chuckles, but the real full body laughter going from your head clear down to your toes.
They say laughter is infectious. I’ve actually seen laughter start with just one person and soon the whole room was roaring, with some laughing so hard that they cried. When we share laughter like that a group’s closeness automatically forms. What laughter does for your body’s health?
- Conflict, pain and stress just seem to disappear during really funny situations.
- Your body will actually increase the number of immune cells through laughter
- laughter is immediately relaxing
- more endorphins are released and a sense of well-being happens
- efficiency of the heart and circulation increases by several percentage points
Along with other health benefits from laughter there is a decrease in stress, and a better immunity, muscle relaxation, heart protection, and laughter strengthens relationships.
The good feelings from laughter are around long after you have forgotten the funny joke.
Another point about a good belly laugh, is when you’re laughing you are in the now – the present moment. You are not worrying about what happened in the past, what you should of, could of, done better. You are not in the future either. You are not worried about making your rent payment next week or another house payment either; and you’re not worried about what you’re going to wear to work tomorrow. You are completely out of the stress zone when you laugh and your body heals because of that momentary freedom.
Better mental health is not often mentioned as a side effect of lots of laughter in your life. Soon you are noticing the constant absurd things happening around you that give you even more to laugh about.
Of course laughter has social benefits. A good laugh can break the ice at many of the social events that seem to be a part of modern business life. When you laugh with a group of people you are more apt to do business with them than with someone you’ve only met and talked with.
There are many ways to increase your chances for laughter. You could try a few of the following funny entertainments.
- funny TV shows
- the Three Stooges are on DVD now
- so are Laurel and Hardy movies
- how about going to a comedy club
- funny comics in the newspaper
- you probably know some funny people to hang out with
- funny stories and books
- what’s your funny idea? Do it more often
- your pets are usually good for a laugh
- funny videos of accidents and bloopers
So get out there and laugh it up! Sharing the fun with others seems to bring me the largest benefits.
“I love people who make me laugh. I honestly think it’s the thing I like most, to laugh. It cures a multitude of ills. It’s probably the most important thing in a person.”
― Audrey Hepburn
What do you find funny?
Has laughter helped you?
Please share your wisdom below.