The Power of Laughter
By: Beth McHugh 2008
They say that laughter is the best medicine and they’re not wrong. Not only is laughing fun to do but it has long-term health benefits, especially for mental health. And it also contributes to you leading a longer (and happier!) life.
Dr. Tim Sharp, a psychologist from the Happiness Institute in Sydney, Australia maintains that laughter has positive benefits, both physiologically and psychologically. Sharp claims that: “People who see the funnier side of things tend to be more resilient. These people are also able to see things from a different perspective.”
Laughing clubs have sprung up around the world as a response to the research that started back when Norman Cousins locked himself in a hotel room and watched funny movies for weeks and ultimately cured himself of a disease about which the doctors had said: “Sorry, mate.”
Laughter is good for weight loss, makes you more productive at work, obviously improves your interpersonal relationships and generally makes life go a whole lot smoother. When we laugh our blood pressure drops and can remain lower for some hours after. Endorphins, those feel-good hormones that have such a good reputation these days, are also released after a good chuckle.
It goes without saying that laughter is an excellent stress release. Just when you feel like you might explode with frustration at the situation you’re in, along comes a wise-cracking friend and “whoosh!” — all the stress just melts away, as oxygen is pumped into our bodies and our blood pressure drops.
For those suffering from low grade depression, laughter clubs can be a real boon. Not only do these clubs provide a social outlet, but the physical act of regular laughter helps to slowly chase those blues away. Even the anticipation of going to a laughter club or indeed, watching a funny movie can be enough to get those endorphins flowing and your mind ticking over nicely.
Laughter definitely is a valuable tool to be added to your arsenal
of stress reducing exercises.