Humor and the laughter that ensues come from the incongruities, paradoxes, and ironies of life. They don’t need to be contrived or even have a punch line. They just need to be enjoyed.
The idea that humor and laughter have health benefits is not new, but worth repeating. In Taming of the Shrew, Shakespeare wrote, “And frame your mind to mirth and merriment, which bars a thousand harms and lengthens life.”
The many benefits of laughter have been studied and documented over the years and show to be a great stress reliever. Vigorous laughter – the good belly laugh – increases your heart rate, blood pressure and circulation. This benefits your immune system, brings oxygen to the blood, makes you more alert and even exercises your facial muscles. Laugh until your face hurts. Following a good laugh, as your heart rate slows and your blood pressure drops, your body begins to feel a state of relaxation.
Researchers believe that humor and laughter cause chemical changes in the brain that boost our body’s resistance to illness. In fact, some hospitals have placed a focus on the healing properties of laughter by starting humor programs that provide books and videos to encourage both staff and patients to add more humor to their work and lives.
Laughter also provides a distraction. For a brief moment our awareness is off of our stressful thoughts. It is difficult to laugh and worry at the same time. Here are a few ideas on how to add more humor and laughter to your life,
- Watch a funny movie or your favorite comedian. One of my family’s favorites is a local comedian from Hawaii named Rap Replinger. (for those who know – Aunty Marialani says “go check the chicken”)
- Watch funny pet videos or make one of your own pet. Even still pictures of pets can be hilarious.
- Play silly games with family or friends. One of our newest finds is Farkle. Just the name makes room for lots of fun and puns. It’s a real game – go look it up.
And here are a few last words:
“Nobody ever died of laughter.” ~Max Beerholm
“The person who knows how to laugh at himself will never cease to be amused.” ~Shirley MacLaine
Wishing you much laughter – it’s good medicine for what ails you.
Until next time…