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Laughter is the Best Medicine

girls-laughing-in-grass-350

By: Elyssa-Beth Bender

Information Courtesy of: Melinda Smith, M.A., and Jeanne Segal, Ph.D

 

Laughter is contagious; it can be be passed around faster than the common cold! When the light-heartedness of laughter is shared amongst good friends and family, it can increase increases happiness and intimacy. Laughter can also cause positive changes to your overall well-being. Here are three ways in which laughter acts as “medicine” for your well-being

Medicine For the Body 

  • Laughter relaxes the whole body. A good, hearty laugh relieves physical tension and stress, leaving your muscles relaxed for up to 45 minutes after.
  • Laughter boosts the immune system. Laughter decreases stress hormones and increases immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies, thus improving your resistance to disease.
  • Laughter triggers the release of endorphins, the body’s natural feel-good chemicals. Endorphins promote an overall sense of well-being and can even temporarily relieve pain.
  • Laughter protects the heart. Laughter improves the function of blood vessels and increases blood flow, which can help protect you against a heart attack and other cardiovascular problems

Medicine For the Mind

  • Laughter dissolves distressing emotions. You can’t feel anxious, angry, or sad when you’re laughing.
  • Laughter helps you relax and recharge. It reduces stress and increases energy, enabling you to stay focused and accomplish more.
  • Humor shifts perspective, allowing you to see situations in a more realistic, less threatening light. A humorous perspective creates psychological distance, which can help you avoid feeling overwhelmed.

Medicine For Social Benefits

  • Be more spontaneous. Humor gets you out of your head and away from your troubles.
  • Let go of defensiveness. Laughter helps you forget judgments, criticisms, and doubts.
  • Release inhibitions. Your fear of holding back and holding on are set aside.
  • Express your true feelings. Deeply felt emotions are allowed to rise to the surface.
 
 

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