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Health Tip: Can laughter really lead to better health?

Laughter has been called ‘a recipe for life’, ‘’internal jogger’’, an effective drug without side effects’’

“Scientists have calculated that only half a minute of joyful laughter is worth 45 minutes of static rest,” reports the Polish weekly Przyjaciółka.

It has been said that ‘’spontaneous burst of laughter is comparable to three minutes of aerobic exercise.’

These and many more are claims highlighting the impact laughter or humour may have on health. ’

Can laughing regularly really lead to better health?

What are the benefits of laughter?

Laughter leads to increased air intake  which improves oxygen supply to the cells. It also leads to improvement in circulation, digestion, metabolism and brain function. Apart from physical benefits laughter leads to better relationships.

According to one husband, it ‘’protects, encourages, opens up fruitful conversations, breaks down preconceived ideas, and turns troublesome words into those that are reasonable and considerate.”

Can laughter or humour promote good health?

“A dose of comedy taken daily for four weeks has now been found to reduce significantly the symptoms of depression,” reports The Independent of London. “Some of the patients who were told to spend 30 minutes a day listening to therapeutic tapes of comedians were cured, while others found that the severity of their symptoms had been halved.

Osaka psychiatrist Michio Tanaka praised the positive influence of laughter. According to Tanaka, “it’s like an effective drug with no side effects.”

Laughter is so essential that some have called it “a recipe for a long life.

To tap into the health benefits of laughter, some hospitals in the United States decided to  provide “humour rooms” for ailing patients, therapists teach “smile therapy,” and an organization known as “Nurses for Laughing” became popular.

Why is laughter such good medicine?

One reason is due to the release of good hormones or chemicals when you laugh. Some researchers at the State University of New York revealed that laughter helps trigger the release of powerful hormones that energize a person’s immune system. One group of hormones, called cytokines, has been found to promote the activity of white blood cells, which are needed to ward off viral and bacterial infections and which destroy potential cancer cells.

Additionally, a psychology professor claims  that “laughter increases the pain threshold by releasing endorphins, the body’s natural pain killers.” This may be one reason,  laughter could be “an antidote to stress.”

Do you know you can use a sense of humour to easily reduce tension at home or work? When things go wrong at home, finding fault, shaming, blaming, yelling, or screaming only worsens matters.

One health researcher, quoted in Redbook magazine, noted: “If you confront a person or ridicule him, he’ll become defensive. Humour invites people to look at their behaviour from a distance—and change it.”

What can you do to put yourself in the right mood daily? Consider smiling at yourself, your mate, and your children first thing in the morning.

“Learn to laugh at yourself,” When you “try to find the good side of things even in difficult circumstances”, you immediately reduce stress and facilitate positive emotions that make you more productive.

 

Poet Langston Hughes once wrote: “Like a welcome summer rain, humour may suddenly cleanse and cool the earth, the air, and you.” Truly, humour can play an important part in our lives. It can keep us from taking ourselves too seriously. It can help us stay cheerful and relaxed. It can smooth out relations with others. It can help us cope with adversity. It can even improve our health.

What makes something funny? No one really knows. While a grown man dressed as a clown may make a child laugh, adults may actually find it irritating. Older persons may find pleasure in more mental forms of humour—puns, plays on words, or jokes—that are more abstract.

Although laughing our way through life does not guarantee good health, it is part of that healthier  lifestyle you may want to adopt.

Therefore, put humour into your life. Discover it. Nurture it. Cultivate it. It’s bound to do wonders for you and those around you. Have you laughed today?

 

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