Laugh Out Loud!

Laughter is the best medicine.

How many times have you heard that one? Is it true?  Well, a doctor and an acupuncturist walk into a bar and the bartender says “YES, IT’S TRUE!” Seriously, folks, even the Mayo Clinic reported that laughter has both short term and long term effects that induce physical changes in our bodies.

Stress. Who doesn’t have at least a little? Laughter may be the best drug-free, zero side effect cure for this modern malady that is hard to escape these days.   When we laugh, there’s a contraction of muscles which increases blood flow and oxygenation.  This stimulates the heart and lungs to trigger the release of endorphins that help you to feel more relaxed physically and emotionally.  A good, hearty laugh heats up then cools down your stress response.

Looking for another way to boost your immune system?  Laugh it up! When we laugh we are thinking positive thoughts.  Positive thoughts release neuropeptides that help fight serious illnesses.  In contrast, negative thoughts can manifest into chemical reactions bringing more stress into your system.

Not surprisingly, laughter can help lessen depression.  It is not easy to laugh when you are struggling with depression, but even forced laughter can release the combination of hormones, neuropeptides, and dopamine that can help improve your mood.  Try watching a comedy, reading a joke book or going to see a live comedy show!

Oh, but can laughter take away my pain?  While some studies show that laughter may cause the body to produce its own natural painkillers, most people believe that laughing doesn’t actually reduce pain, but they report being less bothered by the pain. Your perceived pain levels reduce when you are laughing and your belief that you can cope increases.

Whether you are looking for a cure for what ails you or you are the perfect picture of health, we all need laughter in our lives.  Spend time with people who are fun, laugh at yourself, find a laughable moment of the day and tell it to a friend, increase the power of laughter by sharing!  We love the feeling of shared laughter and our bodies want as much of this feeling as possible!

“Laughter is an instant vacation.” Milton Berle