Laughter is the Best Medicine!!

St. Anne's staff know how to laugh!On the occasion of “International Moment of Laughter Day,” we are sharing an article from January 2015

Various sources illustrate the benefits of humor.  According to an article by the Mayo Clinic, there are physical, intellectual, emotional, and spiritual health benefits to laughter.  According to WebMD, the “belly laugh” (the inspiration for this post), can “boost heart rate, improve blood flow, and stabilize blood pressure.”  This same source pointed out that laughter reduces stress hormones and boosts the immune system.

As people age, they need to be more conscious of health concerns.  An article by Senior Homes made some interesting observations related to laughter and health in the aging population.  One emotional benefit it points out is “the release of endorphins, natural feel-good substances that make you feel happy and content.”  These endorphins, according the article, also “have been proven to reduce the perception of physical pain.”  According to a study of 53,000 Norwegian seniors, those who had a sense of humor had a 20% lower mortality rate.

This same article shared a cute little story which might be a good starting-point in trying to laugh more: “The preacher came to call the other day. He said at my age I should be thinking of the hereafter. I told him, “Oh, I do it all the time. No matter where I am – in the parlor, upstairs, in the kitchen, or down in the basement – I ask myself, “Now, what am I here after?”

Another article by the Mayo Clinic points out laughter’s advantages for stress relief and illustrates its short and long-term benefits.  I wouldn’t have guessed it, but laughter stimulates various organs; it also increases your air intake. Better circulation and muscle relaxation can also result from laughter. It can help with depression and anxiety as well. Laughter may even help keep blood sugars down. Mayo Clinic research also points out that “humor relieves stress and tension, decreases pain and often diffuses conflict.”

Intellectually, according to the first sited Mayo Clinic article, can lead to better attention, creativity and imagination. It can also positively influence interpersonal relationships.

Whether your hoping to boost your mood and outlook or improve your health, making laughter a part of your daily routine is not a bad idea.  Why not try a good belly laugh? suggests that on January 24 at 1:24 p.m. you should smile, throw your arms in the air and laugh out loud!