There are two factors that always make me think about laughing as being healthy or good for you. The first is a scene from a film during my childhood titled Mary Poppins. It’s when Mary’s Uncle Albert, Bert the chimney sweeper and eventually the children are laughing uncontrollably by levitating to the ceiling. You can’t help but laugh along and feel good afterwards. I Love to Laugh is the song appropriately enough featured in Mary Poppins. The point of the song is to let Mary, who is a nanny, lighten up and have some fun for a change. The premise in this comical scene is to showcase how laughter and happiness make Uncle Albert float up into the air. In other words it’s a metaphor on how laughing and thinking happy thoughts creates a positive atmosphere inside and outside as well as for others in your environment.
Another key factor is the book by Norman Cousins Anatomy of an Illness. He used doses of a positive attitude, love, faith, hope, and laughter by watching numerous Marx Brothers comedy films. When Cousins was diagnosed with a form of arthritis called Marie-Strumpell’s disease or ankylosing spondylitis it continually left him in incredible pain. Later he made the discovery that laughing for a good ten minutes had an anesthetic effect where he could sleep pain-free for two hours. Once the pain returned he watched more comedy films. Eventually Norman Cousins recovered from the illness altogether. That right there has always convinced me on the power of laughing as a strong healthy benefit for physical, emotional, and mental health. More and more information is now being written on the health benefits of laughing. Now let’s take a further look on how laughing affects your physical, emotional and mental states. You may not realize how powerful laughing can truly be.
Weight Loss– That should be enough of an incentive and a convincing reason to laugh more often. Laughter actually helps burn off calories by raising the heart rate and speeding up the metabolism. It certainly sounds good to me.
Natural Painkillers– As mention earlier about Norman Cousins’ own experience just by simply laughing you can forget about pain. More and more studies are being conducted to validate how a good hearty laugh relieves pain. There have been studies when children watched comedy films they could tolerate pain more easily.
Increasing the Immune System – Research has found laughter boosts the immune system by increasing the number of antibody-producing T-cells. Thus you are less likely to get the common cold or coughs. It even lowers the level of four hormones associated with stress. Laughing will make you less tense and anxious.
Younger Appearance – Here is another appealing benefit where laughing requires 15 muscles to compact facial muscles into a smile. Just by laughing the blood flows around the face making you look younger. There’s certainly no need for plastic surgery, expensive creams or moisturizers anymore.
Laughing is Contagious – Once again the example used from the scene in the film Mary Poppins when Uncle Albert is laughing everyone else joins in the merriment, including the moviegoer. It truly does lift not only your spirit, but those around you. Haven’t you noticed how people with a good sense of humor are always in demand socially?
Helps your Relationships – Now this is an interesting concept. Laughter can help you with finding a new mate. Men actually love woman who laugh openly in front of them. It’s been stated women laugh 125% more than men. If you’re already in a relationship then laughing can certainly help boost by making it more harmonious.
Relaxes and recharges – Laughter can effectively reduce stress and increase your energy level by helping you stay more focused and help you accomplish more.
Eliminates Distressing Emotions – Did you know that laughter cannot make you feel anxious, angry or sad? That is a valuable emotional benefit.
Decreases Stress – Not enough can be stated on how laughing will instantly reduce the stress hormone levels. It is the most effective way to reduce stress and its effects.
A Goodnight Sleep – One of the problems with poor sleep is due to stress and anxiety. When you have a good laugh, especially before bedtime, it will help immensely with reducing stressful thoughts and anxious feelings. This in turn will provide you with a deep and restful sleep at long last.
Helpful Anti-Depressant – Just by laughing will boost the production of serotonin, which is a natural anti-depressant, that help keeps depression and anxiety away. Rarely do people with a good sense of humor get depressed. Even if they have those moments they get over it suddenly.
Other Psychological Health Benefits – Last but not least laughter boosts self confidence, in addition to coping with challenges in one’s life. It can improve one’s mental health considerably by forgetting the tensions that come from our stressful society.
Those are just some of the many extraordinary health benefits that stem from laughing. You will probably now look at laughing in a whole new light from this moment on. The good news is you can start right away by improving your overall health, What are you waiting for? Begin by literally laughing out loud.