I remember when my daughter was a teenager, and if she heard me laughing while she was with her friends – total embarrassment. Her Aunt and I can easily laugh. Though I am generally a serious person, I do like to laugh. I seem to share laughter with friends naturally. It makes such a difference in how I’m feeling about myself and the world around me. If I’m by myself, I have to make a conscious effort to find laughter, either by reading or watching a funny movie.
What about you – what makes you laugh?
What Laughter Does to Your Body
You probably heard the expression, “laughter is the best medicine.”
Laughter is healing in that it reduces stress levels in your body. Laughter also can reduce pain. A good laugh releases endorphins from your brain, which helps your body, and primarily supports your immune system.
It’s good for depression, arthritis, and other chronic physical issues that come into our lives.
Laughter doesn’t replace medical intervention, though it offers a release of tension that softens body discomforts.
What are endorphins?
Endorphins are a group of hormones secreted within the brain and nervous system and having several physiological functions. They are peptides that activate the body’s opiate receptors, causing an analgesic effect. They can be a basis of pleasure. It can be the “runner’s high,” which is well recognized by most runners.
Endorphins are the body’s natural way to feel good.
Laughter, along with exercise, good chocolate, sex, and meditation, can boost endorphins in our bodies.
So, what can laughter add to your life?
- They say that laughter adds years to your life as one’s immune system gets a break.
- Did you know that laughter works on your stomach muscles as it helps them expand and contract – I think this is a great way to exercise.
- When you laugh, you also burn calories.
- No guarantee, of course, but the consistent practice of laughter in your life can help you live longer.
Laughter is FREE — no cover charge.
When you share laughter with others, you give and receive in a circle of well-being.
Children laugh many times during the day, yet we exhibit more serious behavior as we grow older. Yes, it is essential to be serious about different aspects of your life, though weaving laughter into your day helps you make better decisions about what you need to do.
Yes, one can laugh too much, and for some people, incontinence does occur and other physical issues. You know your body, so gauge your level of laughter quota, though do not give it up as it is beneficial to your well-being.
Laughter is known to have psychological benefits. It is used to reduce pain and stress and improves well-being for people who deal with chronic physical issues in their lives.
Laughter therapy is a complementary therapy and does not replace the expertise of a medical advisor. However, it can help support the immune system so it can do its job.
The best-selling, well-known book by Norman Cousins is “Anatomy of an Illness: As Perceived by the Patient.” Norman Cousins used his powers – laughter and tenacity – to control his body’s resources to heal his body. We are powerful beings, and it works when we decide to follow through and fully commit to a form of healing.
“Hearty laughter is a good way to jog internally without having to go outdoors,”
Laughter or humor therapy can be a complementary treatment to relieve pain and side effects of cancer.
Laughter lightens your worries and issues in your life, helps you release enough tension to ground you, and helps with your psychological and physical well-being.
We have heavy emotions, such as anger, that can lighten by a healthy dose of laughter. If you are sad, laughter adds endorphins to your system and reduces the sadness.
There is nothing wrong with the various types of emotions; it’s just that laughter balances their intensity and reduces the energy you give to heavy emotions, so you can reflect more on the cause and provide better solutions for your issues.
“A good laugh heals a lot of hurts.” — Madeleine L’Engle
Conflict can be managed with others with humor as well. When we embrace humor and laughter, we find ways to resolve the dispute without intensifying the emotions with conflict.
Some medical community experts evaluate and accept different complementary therapies to help patients physically and psychologically deal with medical issues.
Types of Laughter
I didn’t think about all the different ways in which we laugh:
- Belly laugh – is what I explained below in my experience. There are times I can’t stop laughing, and eventually, I say, “my stomach is hurting.” I love this experience.
- The chuckle is a soft sort of suppressed laugh. Someone says something that is mildly cute or funny.
- Giggle – this is more of a nervous laugh.
- Cackle – a very loud or harsh laugh
- Grin or smile – are gentle ways to share one’s lightness
- And many more
There are disrespectful laughs like a snicker or a smirk, but this does not support anyone’s well-being.
I remembered years ago when I was a young woman, a group of us put our heads on another person’s stomach, and we were all connected. The first person said “ha,” and the second one said “haha,” and by the time we reached the fifth person, and she said 5 “ha ha’s,” we were hysterically laughing. One “ha” is not funny, yet, as each person added another “ha” on their turn, it was contagious because we were laughing energetically while using each person’s body to build a momentum of laughter. What an excellent voluntary belly laugh exercise.
Our laughter was not spontaneous; instead, we created a sequence to induce laughter in all of us. It was so much fun. At exam time, we were all on the floor, releasing stress and laughing together. I will never forget the power of this exercise. It was our form of yoga laughter.
How Does Laughter Yoga Work?
Laughter yoga (Hasyayoga) is a new exercise involving prolonged voluntary laughter. This type of yoga provides similar physiological and psychological benefits as spontaneous laughter. Doing it in groups with eye contact adds lots of playfulness with the members. Intentional laughter often turns into real and contagious laughter.
Family physician Madan Kataria popularize laughter yoga, modernizing and simplifying earlier laughter pioneers, who taught similar concepts starting in the 1960s.
His site, laughteryoga.org, clearly states it’s not comedy, rather an exercise program for Health and Well-being. You will see many different resources which can enhance your ability to add more laughter into your life. I downloaded their free “Your Laughter Yoga Guide.”
Laughter yoga helps adults laugh from the mind and their body. What does this mean? Adults laugh from their thoughts, whereas children laugh from their bodies. With Laughter Yoga, you do not need jokes or entertainment to laugh, instead follow their system to add playfulness back into one’s life.
If you are interested, you can become a certified laughter leader.
In 53 countries, you can locate laughter yoga. There are about 5,000 Laughter Yoga clubs worldwide, with roughly 200 of those in the United States. Laughter Yoga is a system that allows laughter to become a part of our daily lives. Children do it. Adults need to break away from the seriousness and add more laughter into their lives.
Social Laughter Clubs are Free all over the world. You may have a club already in your area.
Laughter and Relationships
You are in many different relationships, and all of them have the potential to engage in laughter.
- Couples who share laughter and create fun strengthened their relationship. If you are looking for a relationship with someone who has a sense of humor, check out if you share a similar spirit to satisfy the partnership. If your partner uses others as part of their jokes, it may not match, as this is hostile humor. Shared laughter releases stress in the relationship and creates memories together. Go to a comedy club together.
- Employees who laugh with others and bond with others find their time at work more enjoyable in the workplace. Employers can schedule fun times with their teams, a chance to play together, laughing and relaxing with each other.
- Kids naturally laugh so adults can hitch a ride on their laughter. Listen to a baby’s laughter at something so little, and it’s contagious as you will laugh right along with them.
- Play fun games with your friends or family. I have a great time playing games with my grandchildren as well as dear friends.
Why do we need to laugh more today?
The world is under stress. At this time of writing, the world is experiencing a pandemic (Covid 19), shutting down all countries. This pandemic impacts the physical well-being of the people and hinders people’s ability to make a living and visit with family and friends. Many people are dying from this virus.
We need to make a conscious choice each day to add laughter into our lives. Again, laughter as therapy is Free. It doesn’t solve your problems or the world’s problems but instead releases the depression and stress in your thoughts and actions. Laughter loosens up tension and provides us with an opportunity to rest, reflect, and resolve issues plaguing us each day.
Ways to Add More Laughter in Your Life
There are so many ways to add laughter into your life. The internet is an incredible source of opportunities to laugh:
- YouTube videos
- Animals bring a smile and a chuckle into our lives.
- Hang out with babies and young children as they will teach you to laugh or giggle or any other type of laughter.
- Watch a funny movie
- Read a funny book
- Go to a comedy club
- Tell your friends jokes
- Listen to comedians
- Laugh at yourself when you are worrying about something that probably will not happen but still concerns you — give yourself an inner laugh
- Practice giggling if you need to learn to laugh
Your Next Actions
If you want to add more laughter into your life, you need to set a daily intention or goal to increase laughter in your life. Set a time each day to check out a fun YouTube, joke site, or share funny stories with a friend or family.
How do you add laughter into your life? Do you make others laugh as well? In the Comment Section, share your funnies with others.
Women’s Group Topics
You can have an evening of jokes, funny and absurd stories (though they have to be funny), and find ways to add merriment to your life.
“To fully enjoy the ‘richness’ of our lives, we need to stop long enough to visit with ourselves.”