You’ve heard it said no doubt that, “laughter is the best medicine.” There is much scientific proof around the powers of happiness to cure disease and promote well-being, whereasÂ a lack of humor in one’s lifeÂ may lead to myriad disorders. Humor and it’s mothership, happiness, are truly the elixirs of well-being as happy endorphin hormones flood the system and wash away the blues and maladies.
Think of a time when you were simply happy, in that “punch drunk” condition over an event or circumstance of your life. Can you hang onto that happy feeling for at least 30 seconds? If so, you have just injected your health, thus your life, with a huge dose of health-nurturing hormones. Your life expectancy has been raised simply as a result of that happiness.
I am a HUGE fan of comedy clubs. In my life, I have been privy to some talented stand up comedians who went on to become famous, some with their own television shows. My experience has been that I enjoyed these comedians more when they were live, doing the uncensored, back-to-back one liners than when the shows are taped (and tamed) for the television audience. There is something that happens when there is a live audience reacting immediately to the material. But that’s not always an option, and certainly folks like Whoopie and Billy Crystal have plates so full that it would be a rare treasure to ever again catch them live in a comedy club. But I do admit to watching old videos of the amateurs before they “made it big.”
Something really strange happened one time that comes to my mind now. And that is, at my brother's funeral -the worst day of my life up to that point, I caught myself laughing. Click To Tweet Along with my mother in the corridor, along with my other siblings, we were hopelessly laughing -destroying the somber organ music’s ambience.
At the point when I am writing this, I have no idea of what we could have possibly been laughing at. And yet, there we were, just a few feet from my brother’s still open casket, laughing to death! It gave the clichÃ© a whole new meaning! We were each giggling uncontrollably at something someone said, while the mortician stood in the shadows of his office looking shocked, with an expression that said he knew we had lost all sense of reverence and sanity. It shocked me too. To feel such grave loss, and simultaneously notice myself laughing out loud at something was such an unexpected incongruence!
Looking back I clearly see the laughter as a natural release mechanism. Click To TweetÂ We were all overfilled with raw heavy emotions, and that emotional over-load erupted in a giggly little spurt. Of course that spurt was short-lived. But it was a flash that told me in that moment that we would get through the seemingly unbearable pain. And in time, we did.
It is with that transformative power of humor in mind that I am compelled to include this content on the power of humor on well-being. And as candid as I can be, and in an effort to keep this lofty and fresh, I’m hoping you’ll share personal comments about examples of how laughter and humor have positively influenced your life. In particular, I would love to hear from you if you have any episodes where your health has been impacted by laughter and humor.
I don’t know if anyone has ever laughed themself to death, but I will give you 9 reasons to laugh yourself to life, out loud even, and even at the mortuary:
- Laughter reduces pain (emotional & physical)
- Laughter lowers heart disease rates
- Laughter decreases stress
- Laughter eliminates insomnia
- Shared laughter strengthens relationships
- Laughter releases tension
- Laughter replaces boredom
- Laughter keeps you youthful
- Laughter strengthens your immune system
Undoubtedly, there are more benefits to laughter, and if you can think of any, please share them in the comments section!
Norman Cousins, when told by his doctor that he must go home and get his affairs in order, decided, with the help of Charlie Chaplin,Â to take things into his own hands. He checked himself into a hotel room, and watched non-stop Charlie Chaplin movies. Norman Cousins did not visit a doctor again for the rest of his life (30 more years).
You see happiness really does matter, and matters of happiness are all around us. Click To Tweet They simply await our acknowledgement and gratitude. So set an intention to find something to laugh about every day. You may want to keep a laughter journal so when things get hard, as they sometimes do, you can pull out the journal and lift your own spirits and increase your health.
Some ideas for getting your fix of healthy endorphins: Click To Tweet
- Tune into a sit-com or comedy movie
- Read the comic pages
- Hang out with fun people
- Tell jokes and learn jokes
- Go to a local comedy club for the stand up
- Remember a funny event
- Share a funny story
- Visit the greeting card section
- Hang out with giggling children
- Give yourself permission to be silly
- Check out a bookstoreâ€™s humor section
- Go to your local library and check out the now famous when they were new
- Go to Google images and search “laughter” images (I did, and I was giggling while writing this!)
Laugh often and jiggle that belly off! It’s the best form of calorie burning!
Articles of Interest:
How to Increase Serotonin In the Human Brain Without DrugsÂ
To read more about the benefits of humor, read this excerpt from Escaping the Chrysalis: Introduction to Gestalt Techniques for Self-Esteem Transformation.