LAUGHTER…is medicine? YES..and we need more of it!
Recently I spent two days in a hospital in Florida where my husband was having surgery. This particular hospital, known as Florida Hospital, has a Christian mission of healing…and part of their healing is that all staff members should treat the patients “like family”. They laugh with patients while helping with things that really hurt!
Just down the street is a hotel where I stayed while waiting for the surgery. Going down to breakfast, I was met with a man scrambling the eggs with a grunt and a groan. His attitude was one of discontent. Of course, this translates to those he serves. So often people do not understand that their attitudes say more than words could ever say. Body language is also a signal that all is not well.
According to many reports the attitudes that we harbor day in and day out have a direct connection to our over-all health and well-being. Here is one of them:
According to Mayo Clinic, the following are the benefits of laughter:
A good laugh has great short-term effects. When you start to laugh, it doesn’t just lighten your load mentally, it actually induces physical changes in your body. Laughter can:
- Stimulate many organs. Laughter enhances your intake of oxygen-rich air, stimulates your heart, lungs and muscles, and increases the endorphins that are released by your brain.
- Activate and relieve your stress response. A rollicking laugh fires up and then cools down your stress response and increases your heart rate and blood pressure. The result? A good, relaxed feeling.
- Soothe tension. Laughter can also stimulate circulation and aid muscle relaxation, both of which help reduce some of the physical symptoms of stress.
Laughter isn’t just a quick pick-me-up, though. It’s also good for you over the long haul. Laughter may:
- Improve your immune system. Negative thoughts manifest into chemical reactions that can affect your body by bringing more stress into your system and decreasing your immunity. In contrast, positive thoughts actually release neuropeptides that help fight stress and potentially more-serious illnesses.
- Relieve pain. Laughter may ease pain by causing the body to produce its own natural painkillers. Laughter may also break the pain-spasm cycle common to some muscle disorders.
- Increase personal satisfaction. Laughter can also make it easier to cope with difficult situations. It also helps you connect with other people.
- Improve your mood. Many people experience depression, sometimes due to chronic illnesses. Laughter can help lessen your depression and anxiety and make you feel happier.
The world is full of sadness and tragedy as seen on every TV channel; internet and talk show. You live in the real world and have the ability to make your part of the world a better place. If you are a teacher, smile at the students or a waiter….smile and be courteous to the tables you are serving. If you are a nurse or nurse’s assistant ….caring for the elderly or sick…take them by the hand and speak a kind word. You may be sitting in their place one day. You do not know what someone is facing in life. You may be their only brightness in the day. Make laughter a part of your life. Smile at strangers….and see if it improves your physical or at least your mental health. It may even be a medicine with very special side-effects!