Laughter as Medicine

laughing students

At the height of laughter, the universe is flung into a kaleidoscope of new possibilities.  ~Jean Houston

 

I used to curl up at my Dad’s knee whenever he watched the Red Skelton show.  I didn’t understand the jokes or why Red Skelton and my Dad were laughing so hard but I  just loved that my Dad was laughing.  It made me happy. 

I was at a conference recently and the speaker was talking about the effects of laughter on the brain.  The sound and the act of laughter can move our brain out of the stress zone,  boosting endorphins and improving our immune system.   Research has backed up these claims.   “Laughter yoga” practice has developed based on this information.   So this means that  even if you laugh , even without thinking of something as funny,  you can experience  some of the positive effects of laughter.   Laughter is a universal language.. one we all understand and it connects us to each other.   Studies at the University of Maryland have shown that laughter can actually help to prevent and reduce  heart disease.

 At my Granddaughter, Ella’s second birthday last weekend there was little stress…(Well, there was the trip in the car with the precious birthday cake).    There was a lot of busyness but no one minded as we were enjoying ourselves.   So, how do we treat every day as a celebration.

At the zoo April 2012

Children naturally laugh a lot….We have heard it said that “The average four year old laughs 300 times a day, a 40 year old only four”[1]      This,  it turns out,  may actually be an urban legend,  but we know that kids laugh a lot more than adults and they generally seem a lot happier…So which came first…..The laughter or the happiness..   Lets just say that the mere act of laughing makes us happier, which research has demonstrated….plus it is just common sense.

How (and why) do I laugh without feeling happiness.  You can start with a smile.   A friend of mine has often commented on what a difference the act of smiling has made with her.  She has noticed that when she smiles, people tend to smile back.  I belive we are receiving the energy we give out.   Dr Pamela Gerloff has some tips that I am going to try start tonight.  Read more on this subject and find out if you are meeting your laugh quota.   So for tomorrow,  when something is a little funny, even humerous, I am going to break out in laugher and just see what happens.   If you are willing to try  it with me , please do and we can compare notes.  

To start, I dare you to watch this video without smiling or laughing.

“You don’t stop laughing because you grow old, you grow old because you stop laughing.” 
                                                                            –Michael Pritchard

 

 

 

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