Friday, July 31, 2009

On A Lighter Note-The Benefits of Laughter

Since my last two blog entries have been a bit "heavy," I thought I would write about a lighter topic like laughter. Laughter is healing and in these unsettling times, laughter is good medicine for the body, mind and soul. And tomorrow is the first day of August, perhaps you will be lucky enough to find some rest and renewal this summer. I hope so.  I wrote the following article for a newsletter I wrote for families last year. So here it is........
During the summer months, try to be mindful of the therapeutic effects of laughter and try to laugh more. Put more joy into your life and reduce stress. Research has shown that there are many benefits from laughing, including strengthening the immune system, relieving the physical, negative effects of stress and even reducing food cravings. Here are some findings from an article by Elizabeth Scott titled, "The Stress Management and Health Benefits of Laughter." Laughter reduces the level of stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenane and increases health enhancing hormones like endorphins, which means a stronger immune system, as well as fewer physical effects of stress. Laughter provides a physical and emotional release. A good belly laugh exercises the diaphragm and is a good workout for the heart. Laughter brings the focus away from anger, guilt and negative emotions. Humor can give us a more lighthearted perspective and help us to put situations and problems in a more positive light and keep them in perspective. Laughter is a great way to build positive connections with others and help others to elevate their mood. Laughter is a great stress management strategy and it's inexpensive or free. Amazingly, even if you only fake smiling or laughing, it still has the same positive benefits. Faking it may lead to real expressions of joy and happiness.  So try to see the humor in situations, when possible and laugh with friends and family. Instead of complaining about life's frustrations, think about your blessings and smile with gratitude. Laugh often this summer and help those around you to laugh too. 

All who would win joy, must share it; happiness was born a twin.
Lord Byron

Do not worry; eat three square meals a day; say your prayers; be courteous to your creditors; keep your digestion good; exercise; go slow and easy. Maybe there are other things your special case requires to make you happy; but, my friend, these I reckon will give you a good lift.
Abraham Lincoln