- September 15, 2016
Spoiler alert! Laughter is good for you!
Yep, a good laugh promotes good health. No joke!
Intense laugher relaxes muscles. A hearty laugh stimulates your body. You take in more oxygen, get a boost in your heart rate, and release endorphins, those great feel-good hormones. Post laugh, your body relaxes, your heart rate decreases, and your blood pressure goes down. The post-laughter relaxation can last almost an hour. Laughter may also boost your immune system. We all know a good laugh can also release tensions.
Norman Cousins, editor of Saturday Review, had terrible pain from a form of arthritis. When traditional medical interventions weren’t helping, he left the hospital, took large doses of Vitamin C, and parked himself in front of hours of Marx Brothers films and TV sitcoms. He discovered that 10 minutes of “belly laughter” gifted him two hours of pain-free sleep. He later recovered and wrote a series of books on humor and healing.
With or without laughter, positive thinking appears to be associated with better health and well-being. The Losada Principle calls for three good thoughts for every negative thought. Positivity is linked to flourishing. Try it. Every time you get irritated at someone or something, balance it out with three positive thoughts. OK, sometimes you have to look hard to find a positive thought when you are in a deep blue hole, but the sky is usually blue, the sun shines, and the air is pretty good. Now there are some studies that question the Losada Principle ratio and suggest you do not need so many positive thoughts or maybe you need more, but don’t let the research discourage you. There’s definitely no harm in positive thoughts and we sure do try other things with more risks that may or may not work to improve our health.
This joy and health connection is not new. The Bible, Proverbs 17:22, states, “A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.”
So go ahead and try it. What do you have to lose? Laughter has no copays and no deductibles!
Dr. Nancy Rudner Lugo, local workplace nurse coach with HealthAction.biz, helps individuals and employees understand their health, make healthy choices and achieve their health goals. Send your questions to [email protected]