One of the best times in my life was when I worked with one of my best friends. We were blessed to work for a hospice company that embraced our effervescent and joyful spirits. Entering into peoples’ lives at one of the most serious and sacred times was an honor. However, what I discovered was that the patients’ and families needed more than our pity, they needed our strength.
Nehemiah 8:10: “Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”
(my friend and me after a home visit. LOL!)
For those who still insist to be serious, here are some benefits of laughter that should give you much needed boost:
- Reduces risk of heart disease: Research shows that laughing expands the inner walls of the arteries thereby increasing the blood flow. Furthermore, this positive effect lasts for 30-45 minutes. When you laugh, the blood flow increases and the blood pressure rises; but when you stop laughing, blood pressure drops back to its baseline. This relaxing effect helps bring down blood pressure.
- Natural painkiller: Laughing helps people forget about pain. Studies show that children watching comedy films tolerate pain more easily. There are many more studies to validate the pain relieving effects of good laughter.
- Massages the abdominal organs: Belly laughing gives a good massage to the abdominal organs, like liver, kidney, pancreas, spleen and adrenal glands. As a result, blood flow is increased and their functioning is improved.
- Decreases stress: Laughing instantly reduces stress hormones level and hence is one of the most effective ways to reduce effects of stress.
- Internal Workout: A good belly laugh exercises the diaphragm, contracts the abs and even works out the shoulders, leaving muscles more relaxed afterward. It even provides a good workout for the heart.
- Helps keep diabetes under control: A study showed that people who watched a funny video after meal had comparatively lesser blood sugar level than those who watched a serious film.
- Makes you look young: Laughing requires as many as 15 muscles to squeeze facial muscles in to a smile. This act increases the blood flow around the face making you look younger.
- Improves your breathing: Laughter empties your lungs of more air than it takes in resulting in a cleansing effect; similar to deep breathing. This is especially helpful for people who are suffering from respiratory ailments, such as asthma.
- Boosts your immune system: Researchers have found that laughter actually boosts the immune system, increasing the number of antibody-producing T-cells. This then makes us less likely to get coughs and colds. It also lowers the levels of at least four hormones that are associated with stress, so after a good giggle you should be far less tense and anxious.
- An effective anti-depressant: Laughter keeps depression and anxiety at bay by boosting the production of serotonin, a natural anti-depressant. It’s no surprise that people with a good sense of humor rarely get depressed. And even if they do get, they get over it quickly.
- Acts like a cleansing and energizing breath: During stress, our breathing is shallow and there is a build up of carbon dioxide and residual air in our lungs. Belly laughing forces the air out of lungs, until its empty, followed by a deep inhalation. Hence repeated laughing cleanses the body and energizes it with fresh oxygen.
- Gives good sleep: One of the main factors responsible for sleep problems is stress and anxiety. Having a good laugh prior to sleep reduces stress and anxiety, promoting deep, restful sleep.
- Offers several psychological health benefits: It boosts self-confidence and gives mental strength to cope with conflicts and challenges in life. It also helps us come out of anxiety and depression. It improves out mental health and makes us forget all the tensions in our daily busy lives.
- Laughter is contagious: It not only lifts our spirits but also of others around us. Humorous person are always in demand. A single humorous person lifts the spirit of everyone around him/her. Blessed are those who have such friends.
- Boosts your relationship: If you’re looking to find a new partner, then laughter will help you find a new mate. Men love women who laugh in their presence and women actually laugh 125% more than men. And if you’re already with someone, then a shared sense of humour is an important factor in keeping your relationship running smoothly.
- Helps you lose weight: Burning off calories by laughing might not sound as if it has much use, but a hearty chuckle raises the heart rate and speeds up the metabolism.
Laughter is the perfect example of how the best things in life are free. Make it a great day!