Laughter is the Best Medicine

By John Teng

At some point in your life you probably heard the phrase “laughter is the best medicine.” Often this was told to you at times when you were hurting either emotionally or physically. Odds are, you have just ignored this advice through most of your life, simply believing it was something they told you to make you feel better. But, what if there really was some truth to that saying all along? What if laughter really IS the best medicine?

Laughing Statistics
According to research, laughing 100 times a day is the equivalent to 15 minutes of bike exercise because it uses muscles that we tend not to use such as the diaphragm, parts of the throat, and certain stomach muscles. Laughter is a great stress reliever and has been proven to help lift your mood when you are feeling blue. Laughing also helps promote blood flow, and prolonged deep laughter can clear old air from your lungs. Laughter also strengthens social bonds because it is a universal language understood by everyone. So, why does laughter do this? What is the secret between laughter’s seemingly magic powers?

Why Is Laughter So Healthy?
Professor Robert Provine who teaches at the University of Maryland says that no definitive research has been done about laughing. What does this mean? It means that everyone knows laughter is good for you, but they don’t know why. Yes, it reduces stress and helps your blood flow, but why? No one has really looked into this, yet. What is known is that when you laugh your muscles contract, your blood pressure and pulse shoot up, and you breathe heavily which increases oxygen flow. Laughter also burns 50 calories if you laugh continuously for 15 minutes. So, it may not be known why laughter is beneficial, but we know that it is.

How to Increase Laughter in Your Life
With laughter having so many beneficial properties, your goal should be to laugh, not only because it’s fun but also because it is healthy. So, how can you increase the amount of laughter in your life and bring on those amazing benefits?
1. Decide That You Want To Laugh: Many people do not laugh because they don’t want to. Be comfortable laughing at yourself and your own mistakes, laugh with your partner, laugh with your kids. Just find excuses to laugh, and let yourself find the humor, no matter how frustrated you may be with a situation.

2.Be with Kids: Children are a big source of laughter, they just do so many funny things! Children are also known to laugh for no reason; laugh along with them. Immersing yourself in a child’s life for a few hours can help you laugh and bring you joy. This is the perfect reason to offer to spend time with your niece or nephew for a day or look after the neighbor’s 3 year old on a Saturday.

3.Tell A Bad Joke: Nothing makes you and other people laugh more than a bad joke. Something that’s played out or is just a stupid pun should do the trick.

4.Gravitate Towards Laughter: If you are at a party, dinner, or other social gathering and you see a group having fun and laughing, try and join them. Sit or stand with them and let them absorb you into their conversation. You will have a lot more fun than you would be yourself and it will also help put some laughter in to your life!

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