Laughter: The Best Medicine
What’s a Great Medicine with No Adverse Side Effects? Laughter!
Research has shown that chronic stress can suppress your immune system and, in turn, initiate sickness or aggravate an already abnormal condition. Stress is also an invisible enemy, not like poison or bacteria, which can be seen through a microscope or in your blood.
While stress can be detrimental to our health, there is something else that is all natural, free, can be initiated at any time and has no adverse side effects – laughter. While stress can suppress your immune system, laughter can strengthen it and help to heal, relax and revitalize. Most of us have probably heard the adage ‘laughter is the best medicine’.
Technically, there is no scientific evidence that laughter alone will cure diseases, but it has been proven to relieve tensions and pain brought about by stress and conflict amongst other things.
Below are some scientific explanations as to why laughter is physically good for one’s health.
- Laughter relaxes the body – A good laugh watching comedies or fooling around with friends relaxes the muscles for up to 45 minutes after the event.
- Laughter releases endorphins – these are the body’s feel-good chemicals. Endorphins provide the body with a sense of well being and temporarily relieves pain.
- Laughter can boost the body’s immune system – It decreases stress hormones and promotes the production of more antibodies and immune cells. Studies show that people with a pleasant outlook on life have a higher resistance to disease. Sometimes just the act of laughing can elicit a different perspective on things.
- Laughter can protect the heart –Increased blood flow from humor-induced laughter improves the function of blood vessels, helping to protect from heart attacks and other cardiovascular problems.
Emotionally, laughter can:
- Add joy and fun to your life
- Ease anxiety and fear
- Improve mood
- Enhance resilience and help you adapt to changes
Socially, laughter can:
- Help placate conflict
- Strenghthen relationships
- Encourage team playing and cooperation
- Make you more approachable
Since humans experience stress and worry, it is only natural to have an antidote – the capacity for humor and levity. Humor is built-in to everyone as a mechanism to combat stress. Everyone has a sense of humor, but triggering it to achieve laughter can be different for everyone depending on what a person perceives as humorous or funny.
Everyone needs a good laugh once in a while, preferably every day, even in serious situations. After a day at the office, go see a funny show or sit down and read a funny book or be with some humorous friends. It should relieve the stress and tension built up during the day and prepares the body for the same dose of stress the next day.