The Benefits Of Laughter And How To Get More Of It
Lord Byron, famous English poet once said, “Always laugh when you can. It is cheap medicine.” It turns out that there is a lot of science to back up this centuries-old claim. Studies show that laughter can significantly reduce stress levels and have a positive impact on a person’s physical health and overall well-being. Read on to learn more about the benefits of laughter and how to chuckle your way to a healthier lifestyle.
Laughter as Medicine
So is laughter really medicine? Research suggests that laughter offers both short and long-term health benefits to both the mind and body. In addition to soothing tension, fatigue and regulating the fear response, laughter increases endorphins (the “feel good” hormone) in the brain which can fight depression and lighten mood. Laughter even helps stimulate internal organs such as the lungs and heart. Laughter boasts the following healing powers:
- Alleviates chronic pain by helping the body produce natural painkillers.
- Improves immune system functioning by releasing neuropeptides which help fight diseases.
- Combats feelings of isolation and depression which can sometimes contribute to illness or disease.
- Eases muscle tension.
- Promotes cardiovascular health by increasing the flow of blood and oxygen to the heart.
- Adds more joy to one’s life which can translate to overall improved well-being.
- Strengthens interpersonal relationships which can make lives more fulfilling.
So we’ve established that laughter is good for you, but how do you get more of it in your life? All it takes is a little creativity, and it also helps to surround yourself with the right people. Here are some suggestions to get started.
Watch a Funny Show
There are any number of humorous television shows, movies and stage productions. Whether you decide to peruse a new TV comedy or venture out to see a stand-up comedian at a local venue, setting an intention to view something comedic can be a great way to relax, de-stress and have a good time. Taking the opportunity to make an occasion out of a comedy night to share these funny moments with friends, is also a way to create or strengthen social connections.
Read the Funnies
From magazines to comic strips to laugh-out-loud New York Times bestsellers, the comedy genre is extensive, and there are many ways to get a chuckle simply by picking up something that’s funny to read. Look for recommendations online or check in at the local library. Comedy podcasts and audiobooks are also plentiful, so you can even enjoy a laugh while knitting or doing some other routine sedentary task.
Organize a Game Night
Game nights with friends and family offer a great excuse to socialize and often come with funny anecdotes. Whether you decide on a rousing game of charades or a Monopoly tournament, game nights offer the opportunity to relax while getting some laughs. Since these activities can be enjoyed by a wide variety of ages, you might be able to get your nieces, nephews or grandchildren involved too! If you can’t organize a game night yourself, check out event listings at local houses of worship, libraries or community centers.
Spend Time with Children
Nothing keeps people young at heart quite like spending time with little ones. If you aren’t able to get time with your own grandchildren or friends’ grandchildren, consider volunteering as a reader at a local library or nursery school. Just a short time with children and their adorable antics will keep you smiling, energized and chuckling for the rest of the day.
Don’t Take Yourself Too Seriously
Sometimes the best strategy is just a healthy dose of humility and the ability to laugh at ourselves. It’s one thing to acknowledge that everyone makes mistakes, but being able to laugh at yourself and any simple errors can mean the difference between happiness or depression. If you have a slip of the tongue, lose your balance or have a social faux pas, think of what a good friend would say. A good friend would tell you: “Don’t worry about it.” Learn to forgive yourself and laugh at your own mistakes.
Find a Community
One of the best ways to get more laughter in your life is to surround yourself with the right people. Immersing yourself in a fun and spirited community can bring more laughter to your life. At Artisan at Hudson, we’ve curated a distinctive lifestyle that offers residents the type of care they need, when they need it – from independent living to assisted living and memory care. To learn more about Artisan at Hudson or schedule a tour, contact us today.