Laughter therapy has been shown to help people who are ill or facing tough physical challenges.
It’s true that our mood affects our health. Stress, feeling down, anxiety and depression can all lead to ill health in many ways. By contrast, laughter can help ease many medical conditions.
When we laugh our muscles relax and we release endorphins into our system. These endorphins (or happy hormones) make us feel good and relieve stress from our bodies. By relieving our bodies of stress and pent-up anxiety, we help boost our immunity and fight off a host of illnesses and conditions.
Did you know that optimists have been shown to live healthier lives? It’s true, and laughter is of course related to being an optimist. By being a person who always looks at the bright side of things and manages to laugh even when things get tough, you stand a chance of a longer, healthier life. Not to mention an improved quality of life as well.
So just how do you manage to laugh when the going gets tough?
- Smile more – Smiling can have a similar effect to laughter. It’s the first step to feeling good and having a good laugh. Practice until you find that smiling becomes second nature. When you smile you change your internal physiology to reflect your feelings – in this case positive, good feelings.
- Watch a funny movie – While television dramas and movies can be exciting to watch, too much can lead to damaging effects. By watching more funny movies and programs on TV, you ensure that you’ll be left with a good feeling once the television is turned off rather than feelings of anxiety or sadness. While this may seem like wrapping yourself in a bubble to a certain extent, it is important to limit our exposure to negative images and ideas. By simply watching more feelgood TV, you stand a better chance of feeling better overall.
- Volunteer to a child-related service – Children have a way of putting a smile on our faces. Their energy and enthusiasm is often contagious. A good way to increase laughter is to volunteer at your local school or child care facility. You’ll not only feel good about helping out, but you’ll have a great time and find laughter comes a lot easier!
- Exercise – Exercise is now prescribed as a treatment to anxiety and mild depression. It not only helps your body feel good, it helps your mind too. Regular exercise will release endorphins into your system which will make you feel good. Laughter will soon follow after, because if you feel good then you have a reason to smile and laugh more.