Posts Tagged “Laugh”

Learning to enjoy our lives is one of the greatest challenges we face as adults. And, it is also the single most important thing we can accomplish. Yet, many of us continue to struggle through life without feeling well-balanced and joyful. Ergo another round of self-help books that promise us the life we want, the one that we will REALLY love. Amazingly, many of us overlook the simple, natural act that contributes enormously to fulfilling the promise of a happy, healthy life:  laughter.

There are countless ways and many rewards to regularly adding laughter to our lives. Here are but a few:

 Laughter’s Contributions to a Healthy, Youthful Body.

Laughter is health-giving and stress-reducing. “It strengthens the body as it pumps the heart and muscles of the abdomen, chest, shoulders, and neck,” says William F. Fry, M.D., a Professor of Psychiatry at Stanford University Medical School. Laughter also stimulates the brain, ventilates the lungs, works as a healing agent for the body’s stress hormones, releases tension in the diaphragm and relieves pressure on the liver and other internal organs. Medical experts have determined that laughter boosts the immune system by increasing natural disease-fighting killer cells and lowering blood pressure. In fact, according to a Loma Linda University study, thirty minutes after 20 medical students laughed through a video of a well-known comedian, their disease-fighting white blood cells increased by 25 percent. Laughter is also rejuvenating. As George Burns put it, “You can’t help growing older, but you can help growing old. By using humor we can prevent a hardening of our attitudes.”

Laughter Restores the Mind.

Our busy and complex minds become quieter and more manageable as a result of at least a few good laughs a day. In fact, laughter relieves excess emotional and mental baggage as it opens our energy channels. Laughter brings us into the present, eliminating – in the moment – painful memories and burdens. It helps people problem-solve, enlarge their thinking and feel really alive. Laughter also increases intellectual performance and boosts information retention. “If we took what we now know about laughter and bottled it, it would require FDA approval,” says Lee S. Berk, PhD, leader of the Laughter Study and Assistant Professor of Pathology at Loma Linda’s School of Medicine.

Laughter Improves Job Performance.

Laughter is a great coping mechanism as it helps us deal with new learning, changes and challenges in the workplace. Laughter opens the way for added perspective and helps us deal with the stress of not-so-funny stuff. In fact, studies show that laughter may just be the best prescription for optimal workplace performance. When executed in an appropriate manner and in the proper context, humor and resulting laughter are powerful workplace tools that can be used to minimize tension, improve morale, build concentration and increase coping skills, teamwork and productivity.

Laughter Awakens Creativity and Imagination.

One study found that laughter may improve job performance particularly with work that involves creativity and problem-solving that requires more than one possible answer. Allan Filipowicz, Harvard Ph.D. candidate in Organizational Behavior, showed his students either a short comedy tape (a Bill Cosby clip or the movie ‘Liar, Liar’) or a neutral video.  He then asked them to build out of styrofoam a bridge or tower that was as long or high and as aesthetically pleasing as possible. Filipowicz found that the men who viewed the funny film became more alert after watching the comedy clips, sparking creativity and, thus, executing better, more imaginative designs than those who viewed the neutral tapes.

Laughter Can Be a Lifesaver.   

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has attributed at least two-thirds of one year’s 41,000 traffic accident deaths to road rage.  Instead of risking anger or negative emotions on your daily commute, laugh your way to work with a humorous book-on-tape or comedy recording.  Search for amusing things to laugh at along the way. Tune into NPR’s ‘Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me’, ‘Says Who’, ‘Prairie Home Companion,’ ‘Car Talk’ or anything else that will reduce driving tensions. It’s tough to get caught up in road rage when you laughing out loud. 

 One Hundred Laughs a Day Provide a Total Feel-Better Experience.

While the average child laughs 300 times a day, it’s a safe bet that the average adult laughs a whole lot less. Yet, research shows that – along with stimulating the immune system, decreasing stress hormones and increasing endorphins – 100 laughs a day provide the equivalent physical benefits of riding a stationary bike for 15 minutes or spending 10 minutes on the rowing machine. Laughter, optimism, and relaxation can literally makes us feel better by enabling us to cope more successfully with tasks at hand and to resist negativity in our surroundings.

Taking Laughter Seriously Releases Pain.

Laughter rebalances the chemistry of stress, creates renewed perspective and reminds us of the bigger picture.  And, when we allow laughter to bubble up to the surface, we can more readily release or transform pain, emotional distress and tension according to mirthful consultant and trainer Ed Dunkleblau, PhD. This consultant – along with a growing number of psychologists – has come to view humor and laughter as powerful therapeutic tools. Ones that should be taken quite seriously.

Laughter Really Is the Best Medicine.
While it’s difficult to measure the benefits of laughter, a number of clinical studies have helped verify the adage that ‘laughter is the best medicine.’ Dr. Michael R. Wasserman, president and chief medical officer of GeriMed Of America, Inc., a primary care physician management company for seniors says, “A few years ago I came down with pneumonia, pulled out videotapes of I Love Lucy reruns and laughed myself back to good health. In his longitudinal study of what made for “success” in life, Dr. George Vaillant discovered that humor is one of life’s key maturing/coping mechanisms that ensures health and longevity.

Laughter. Don’t Live Without.
Laughter is an effective way to improve morale and build understanding and positive relationships at work and at home. Generally, people who readily laugh have a better sense of well-being and more control of their lives. To their good health, they regularly stimulate their immune systems, reduces stress and help balance the body’s natural energy fields. In short, individuals who reward themselves with laughter ensure their own sanity, vitality and resourcefulness as they add energy and enthusiasm to their lives.

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