How to Use the Power of Laughter for Your Health

“Laughter is the best medicine” is a true statement, and not a new one for most of us. Why is laughter good medicine? Does it actually help your body? Where can you get more of this medicine?

Laughter is good for your body and your mind.

Laughter is known to boost your immune system, lower blood pressure, exercise your diaphragm, reduce the levels of stress hormones in your body, and a number of other benefits. Have you ever tried to hold onto a bad mood after a really great laugh? Norman Cousins used laughter to heal himself and documented his journey in the bestseller “Anatomy of an Illness.”

You don’t have to have a great sense of humor to get enough laughter in your life.

If you can’t find humor in your everyday life, take advantage of Netflix and rent some funny movies. There are enough genres out there to tickle the most reluctant funny bone. Laughter yoga is the practice of laughing deliberately for no reason. Just a little laughter will open the way for more.

There are excellent resources available to get yourself some therapeutic belly laughs.

You can try Laughter Yoga, going to a comedy club, funny movies, or a comedy improvisation class. When I was going through chemotherapy for breast cancer, I arranged my chemotherapy schedule so I would always feel good for improv class. I never missed a week, and my regular dose of belly laughs helped me sail through chemotherapy without any complications. My blood counts were so good that the doctor reduced my white blood cell stimulating medicine.

Do you have a friend who makes you laugh? Team up with someone who cares about you to see the funny side of life. It will become a habit. I have a dear friend who I laugh with. We laugh until we cry, and we have trained ourselves to see the humor in everything. This not only is good for our health, but it helps us cope with situations which otherwise could be stressful.

Like many health practices, the ability to laugh improves with practice.

One of the ways that I know I’m under stress is when I can’t laugh. Just realizing this is often enough to get me back into seeing the world sideways. It’s an acquired skill. It may seem forced at first, but keep trying. It will become natural and your body will thank you. You can start with something like doing a perfect imitation of your teenager rolling her eyes at you for a sympathetic friend. Or, think of something silly like your boss approaching you with a deadline, wearing a toad on his head. The possibilities are endless, and practice makes perfect. Just watching a really funny movie with someone you have fun with will reawaken the laughing habit with very little effort.

Best of all, this medicine is not only very effective, it’s free!


More from Elizabeth Danu:
The Benefits of Giving Massage to Your Child
Should You Teach Yourself Yoga?
The Dangers of Calcium and Vitamin D Supplements

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