They say “Laughter is the Best Medicine”, and I totally agree! When I’m feeling down or blue a laugh, smile, funny joke, funny TV show or funny movie usually helps me feel a little better – that and a little chocolate!
- E.R. Doctor: How are things with that kid who swallowed the roll of quarters?Nurse: No change yet.
In the 1970s, word spread that Norman Cousins, a journalist, had markedly improved his symptoms of ankylosing spondylitis through the use of humor. He watched Marx Brothers movies regularly and found that they did much to improve his pain. Ultimately, his book, Anatomy of an Illness, did a lot to spark interest in the healing benefits of humor and laughter.
Laughter helps reduce stress, and lighten the mood. Laughing has physiological effects; it changes body chemistry and brain function. For example:
- Laughter increases heart and respiratory rates as well as oxygen consumption over a short period. After these initial changes, a person moves into a state of relaxation. While these effects may not be the equivalent to aerobic exercise, as some claim, that is not to say it is entirely without benefit as a physical activity. 10-15 minutes of laughter per day may also burn 10-40 extra calories.
- Laughter affects heart function. It increases stroke volume and cardiac output, and it dilates blood vessels.
- Watching humorous videos revs up the sympathetic nervous system (SNS) without increasing blood pressure.
- Laughter lowers levels of the stress hormone, cortisol.
- Laughter activates the mesolimbic dopaminergic reward system in the brain.
- Laughter increases serum immunoglobulins A and E. In most studies, it seems to increase natural killer cell activity as well.
- It raises levels of beta-endorphins(the feel-good chemicals of the body) and increases human growth hormone.
Here are a few ways to try to make yourself smile and feel better:
1. Go online and search for jokes websites. Visit a few and spend 10 minutes reading jokes.
2. Go to youtube and in the search box enter “funny stuff” and you’ll have your pick of funny videos to watch.
3. Watch a funny movie. Here are a few to get you started:
- The Hangover
- My Cousin Vinny
- Best in Show
- Groundhog Day
- What About Bob
- Step Brothers
- Meet the Parents
4. Sign up to receive a joke of the day emailed to you.
5. Pull a prank on someone, at work or at home.
6. Startle someone, hide behind a door, wall, or in a closet and pop out at them shouting BOO! You’ll both get a good laugh.
7. Watch episodes of America’s Funniest Videos.
8. Watch stand-up comedians on tv, youtube,netflix,etc.
9. Invite a funny friend to lunch or dinner, spending time with them will make you smile, laugh, feel good.
10. Stand in front of a mirror and practice laughing. Try belly laughs, chuckles, laugh out loud.
11. Try doing laughter yoga to make yourself laugh:
And here’s one more: Try to make someone else laugh. Do whatever it takes, go on the internet and find some funny jokes, do stupid tricks, tell them funny stories, jump up and down on one foot, stand on your head, play them a funny video, make fun of yourself…do whatever you have to to get them to laugh – and in the process you’ll get a good laugh too!
Next time you need a laugh give one of the above a try!
- A patient walks into a clinic, terribly anxious.Patient: Nurse! Please help me! I am shrinking. I am losing an inch of height every few minutes! Nurse: Sorry, the team is on their way to an emergency. You’re just going to have to be a little patient.
Mindful Awareness Moment
Having a Good Laugh Right Now
Take some time and search online for something humorous. It might be an excerpt from a television show, a medical humor website, a risqu limerick, or a knock-knock joke you can share with your kids. Just find something that gives you a good belly laugh.
As you laugh, note what happens in your body.
- Did laughing change your emotional state?
- How about your physical state?
- And what about your mental state?
Comments by readers:
- There are times when I will recall a hilarious memory, like a friend’s sledding accident, and start laughing like a crazy person.
- Boy could I use a good laugh after such a lousy day. Thanks for your advice.
- I like pulling a prank on someone!! :))
- Good advice
- Great stuff found in your treasure chest :)
- Made me smile just reading this
- I watch cartoon or comedy movies when I am down :)
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