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THE FIX

Laughter as Medicine - Can Laughter Really Stimulate Wellness?


Laughter as Medicine - Can Laughter Really Stimulate Wellness?


I don't know about everyone else, but spending this weekend, outdoors with friends and loved ones, prompted so much laughter that it simply felt like magic was in the air.  

Laughter and humour are positive traits that can do wonders for your life. In this challenging time that all of us are struggling with, it becomes even more essential to bring these habits into our daily lives. Laughter and humour have proven effects to boost mind, body and spirit. I am sure it must have happened with you when you were stressed out or anxious, and someone made you laugh, or you have smiled with an open heart at someone. Do you still remember that magic? Happiness and laughter draw people together, triggering healthy physical and emotional changes in the body. Laughter strengthens the immune system, lifts mood, diminishes pain, and protects from the damaging effects of stress. Nothing works faster or more equitably to bring the mind and body back into balance than a good laugh. Humour lightens the emotional burdens, inspires hope, connects people, and keeps a person grounded, focused, and alert. It also helps to release anger and helps to forgive sooner. 

With so much power to heal and rehabilitate, the ability to laugh readily and frequently enhance relationships and support physical and emotional health.

Scientific research shows how laughter and humour benefit both the mind and the body. One study highlighted how laughter and humour can improve brain connectivity and recognise the different types of laughter we might hear, such as tickling laughter compared with taunting laughter. Another study showed how when we laugh, it elevates our pain threshold and releases endorphins hormones associated with a better mood and reduces stress.

Studies have also determined how laughter helps to release serotonin in our brains, decrease our social anxiety, and even how laughter increases the oxygenation of the blood.

Here are just a handful of the positive physiological benefits of laughter regarding why we should be tickling our loved ones: 

The Benefits of Laughter and Humour

Physical Health Benefits

  • Boost immunity
  • Relaxes your muscles
  • Lowers stress hormones
  • Decreases pain
  • Prevents heart disease

Mental Health Benefits

  • Ease anxiety and tension
  • Improves mood
  • Relieves stress
  • Strengthens resilience

Social Benefits

  • Strengthens relationships
  • Enhances teamwork
  • Helps defuse conflict
  • Attracts others to us
  • Promotes group bonding

Laughter may even help to live longer. A study in Norway claims that people with a strong sense of humour outlived those who don't laugh as much. The difference was significantly notable for those battling cancer.

How to Bring More Laughter to Life 

Laughter is a natural part of life that is innate and inborn; we might be aware of it or not. Infants begin smiling during weeks of birth and laugh out loud within months of being born. Even if you were not surrounded by a household where laughter was a familiar thing, you could learn to laugh at any stage of your life. You need to incorporate humour and laughter into the fabric of your life. Try to find it naturally in everything. 

Smile. Smiling is the first stage or like a starter to laughter, and like laughter, it's contagious. I'll share my perspective; when I look at someone or see something that makes me mildly pleased, instead of looking down at my phone, I look up and smile. Try to smile at people you pass in the street, the person serving you a morning coffee at your workplace, or the co-workers you share an elevator with. You will notice a charismatic change in your personality and the effect on others soon.

Count your blessings. Make a list. The prime act of considering the positive aspects of life will distance us from negative thoughts that diminish humour and laughter. When we are in a state of sadness, it's better to travel to reach humour and laughter.

Give

For me, when I do something for anyone else that can bring even a minor change, it gives me a bundle of happiness. Try it out. Learn to give away; a smile, a penny to make a difference, a few words to console or few minutes. Just give and see what magic it brings back.

It's true: laughter is medicine. Above all, this priceless medicine is fun, free, and easy to use. As children, we laughed hundreds of times a day, but life tends to be more complicated, and laughter is more infrequent as adults. But by looking out for more opportunities for humour and laughter, we can improve our emotional health, strengthen our relationships, find greater happiness—and even add years to our life.

We hope that you enjoyed your daily Wellness Fix. 
With love, Beautifully Nourished x 
Dr Ayesha Gulzar, PharmD, Doctor of Pharmacy, Research and Medicine
Editor and Founder: Katherine Elyse Blake, BSC Nutrition, ANutr

  

 

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