The Effect Of Laughter On Health

While legendary Hollywood comic-actor, Mel Brooks, once said, “Humour keeps the elderly rolling along, singing a song,” comedy king Charlie Chaplin stated, “If you don’t laugh, you’ll die!” Why did they say this??

When you laugh, it’s an involuntary explosion of the lungs. The lungs need to replenish themselves with oxygen. So, you laugh, you breathe, the blood runs, and everything is circulating! Sometimes it’s not easy to lighten up. For most people, using humour effectively requires practice and planning. You need to build your humour repertoire so you can access it when you need it. Collect cartoons, one-liners, jokes, anecdotes and the like. Why not memorise one joke a day, building your memory, while making others laugh? Build your own sense of humour. Watch a stand-up comedy or use humour at every chance you get. Remind yourself to have fun. It’s alright to be foolish on occasion – it can even be good for you!

Unfortunately, many do not consider fun as an important item on their daily agenda. For me, it’s always my topmost priority. Take a laugh-break along with your coffee-break! When something bad happens, pretend to be your favourite comedian and react in your own manner. Spend time with people who are cheerful and help you smile, laugh and look at the brighter of life. Meet such people frequently. Start with a tee-hee, build up to a chuckle, and then go for it… a BIG BELLY LAUGH! Pretty soon you’re laughing, your endorphins are rushing, you begin to feel better. To laugh or not to laugh is not even a question. You know what a young spirit would choose – you are that young spirit and it’s always your choice.

Life is moments, day by day, not a chronometer or contractual commitment to God. The digits of one’s age do not correspond to the arrhythmia of one’s heart or to the secret chemistry in our lymph nodes that, mysteriously going rancid, can betray us despite all the surgery, dentistry, and other youth-friendly things that money can buy.

Appreciating humour keeps you mentally fit while adding enjoyment and fun to your life. Few activities are mentally demanding and intellectually stimulating as humour. It’s no accident that in one section of the world’s most respected IQ test, exam takers are asked to arrange cartoon pictures to tell a story.

Humour and laughter may even help protect you against a heart attack. We know that exercising, not smoking and eating foods low in saturated fats reduces the risk of a heart attack. Perhaps, daily laughter should be added to this list. Why? Because research shows that laughing lowers blood pressure, reduces stress hormones and increases muscle flexion. Laughter also boosts our immune system by raising levels of infection-fighting cells. And this is just for starters – there’s more!! Laughter triggers endorphins – the body’s natural pain-killers – which produce a sense of well-being! Laughter is an easy pill to swallow – it’s free and has only positive side-effects!

Laughter can be a great workout for your diaphragm, lungs, facial and back muscles. It massages organs, tones intestinal functioning, and strengthens abdominal muscles. As if all that weren’t enough, it’s estimated that a hearty laughter can burn calories equivalent to several minutes on the exercise-bike! Think of all those runners hitting the pavement, expressions of grim resolve and miles of strain on the drawn faces (if they made running look fun, then more of us would do it). Laughter keeps the brain alert and allows people to retain more information. An alert, active brain is a good piece of equipment at any age.

Research shows that lack of humour leads to depression and even suicide. Studies confirm that laughing elevates the mood, which is why many psychologists today use humour as a therapeutic tool to battle depression. I ‘practice’ humour in my day-to-day living and gravitate towards friends who have a sense of humour. I enjoy writing humorous articles. I prefer to see humour in life and laugh at situations rather than bemoan them. Family and friends leave my home with smiles on their faces. It should be a pleasant experience to meet people. There are lots of unfortunate people who have nobody visiting them because they have no sense of humour, are secretive, introverted and unhappy in some area of their lives.

 What about people with health problems? Well, you’ll be in pain and feel rotten if you choose to just stay home, and you will be in pain but have some fun if you go out. So, why don’t you go out and have some fun?

Your ability to laugh is a valuable accomplishment. It gives you enjoyment, connection, and a good defence against people who are boring, sedate, solemn, dreary and dull. Humour adds to the language of your life, making it a great deal endurable and even more amusing. Humour is one of our greatest natural resources and every day provides lots of material for amusing others and ourselves. People are drawn to smiles and laughter even if that smile or laughter is on a well-worn face.

To create a truly rich life, we must take the practice and planning of humour seriously, and laugh often to live well!

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