Love, faith and humor – promoted as health giving from the time of Hippocrates. Yet the mainstream medical institution puts little or no value on these three things. In his book “Gesundheit” Patch Adams claims that people craze laughter as if it were an essential amino acid. The book also states that when asked what is most important for health, individuals and groups select humor over love and faith.
Although difficult to measure there is some research on laughter and its positive physical benefits to the body. Laughter increases the release of catecholamines and endorphins (feel good chemicals), increases immune system function (increases natural killer cells, activates T-cells), decreases stress hormones (cortisol, dopamine, epinephrine), lowers heart rate and blood pressure, causes muscles in the upper body to stretch and relax, it can be a workout for the diaphragm, increases oxygen to the lungs, can decrease pain, improves brain function and elevates mood.
“Your sense of humor is one of the most powerful tools you have to make certain that your daily mood and emotional state support good health.”
~ Paul E. McGhee, Ph.D.
THERE is no downside…it has been found to help combat allergies for up to two hours, may prevent a heart attack by preventing inflammation in the lining of the blood vessels in the heart, is an antidote to stress, is an effective social lubricant and researchers at Vanderbilt University found that 10 – 15 minutes of laughter can burn up to 50 calories.
Laughter has a mental health benefit as nothing works faster or more dependably to bring your mind and body back into balance than a good laugh. Humor lightens your burdens, inspires hopes, eases anxiety and fear, adds joy and zest to life, enhances resilience, and keeps you grounded, focused, and alert.
When laughter is shared, there is a social benefit as it binds people together and increases happiness and intimacy. It helps to strengthens relationships, attracts others to us, enhances teamwork, helps defuse conflict, and promotes group bonding. We usually laugh when we are with others and the value of closeness and interaction to the human race is without comparison.
So whether laughter actually improves our health or boosts energy is not really important because it undeniably improves our quality of life.
Just like the scene in Mary Poppins when everyone is laughing and floating and singing…
I love to laugh
Long and loud and clear
I love to laugh
It’s getting worse each year
The more I laugh
The more I’m filled with glee
And the more the glee
The more I’m a merrier me.
Find some humor in your life everyday!!! Your health and well-being will improve.
For ideas on how to increase laughter in your life find small people and just wait or you can read “Gesundheit” by Patch Adams