The Best Medicine
This month, a look at the very measurable health benefits obtained by indulging in one of life's sweetest pleasures - laughter!
- by Christina Richardson
Do you feel any different? I laughed so hard when I watched this, I nearly fell off my chair. I immediately forwarded it to my friends and called them too. We all laughed and that led to other goofy videos and shared experiences.
One we still snort about is the first Seahorse parade when I reached around to get more throws from the back of our golf cart and tumbled right out, onto the street. What a klutz!
Laughter can keep you in touch with yourself and with friends. Often, laughter is a shared moment that bonds people together.
It can also be a part of regaining health during and after an illness. Author, journalist and humanitarian Norman Cousins battled a number of illnesses during his life. He wrote a collection of best-selling non-fiction books on illness and healing. He called laughter "inner yoga" and said that two minutes of good belly laughter gave him two hours of pain-free sleep.
Cousins served as Adjunct Professor of Medical Humanities for the School of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles, where he did research on the biochemistry of human emotions. He received the Albert Schweitzer prize in 1990.
The work Cousins did opened the door on laughter as medicine research. Today there is Laughter Yoga and even a Laughter University!
The seven great benefits of laughter are:
1. Laughter lowers blood pressure and reduces the chance of stroke and heart attacks.
2. Laughter reduces stress hormones – think how you felt after looking at that dog video.
3. Laughter is good for your muscles. Did you ever laugh till it hurts? That’s a workout!
4. Laughter is a calorie burner and can actually help you lose weight.
5. Laughter increases t-Cells (which are immunity system cells) helping you fight off illness.
6. Laughter releases those endorphins which are the body’s pain killers.
Last, but not the least,
7. Laughter produces a general sense of well- being – people who have a positive attitude fight diseases better so laugh, smile and live longer.