Your Health Portfolio: Investing in Laughter Can Pay Big Dividends

May 27, 2009

Investing in Laughter Can Pay Big Dividends

by Cindy Witt

Couple PlayingWe all know that investing in good nutrition and exercising regularly should be at the top of the list in our health portfolios. Another addition to consider is a substantial investment in laughter.

Studies have shown that laughter has a profound affect on our well being. A good laugh can actually strengthen your immune system, reduce food cravings and increase your threshold of pain tolerance. A hearty guffaw can reduce the level of stress hormones such as cortisol, epinephrine (adrenaline), dopamine and growth hormones. It also increases the level of health-enhancing hormones such as endorphins and neurotransmitters. Laughter will increase the number of antibody-producing cells and boosts the effectiveness of T cells which, in a nutshell, provides us with a stronger immune system, as well as fewer physical stress related consequences such has heart disease.

Studies also show that our response to stressful episodes can be changed by how we view them. Do we view something as a threat or do we think of it as a challenge? Humor can give us a more lighthearted perspective and enable us to think of these stressful events as challenges which make them less foreboding and more positive.

An investment in laughter will enhance and make your Health Portfolio even more valuable in developing a happier and more fulfilling life. Not only does laughing provide you with emotional and physical release it can also provide you with the following benefits.

Benefits of Laughter

  • A big heart felt belly laugh exercises the diaphragm, contracts your abs, and can even work your shoulders which, in turn will leave your muscles more relaxed. It actually provides a good workout for your heart!
  • Laughter can bring your mental focus away from anger, stress, guilt and other negative emotions.
  • A good chuckle can provide us with a connection to others. It can be contagious, not only benefiting you but those around you as well. By joining others in a little mirth and merriment you can lighten your day, promote positive social interaction with friends and co-workers and perhaps help them to realize what a solid investment laughter can be.

Now that we know what a wise investment laughter can be we have to figure out how to get more of it in our life. We lead such busy, fast paced, demanding lives in today’s society. So how do we find those smiles, giggles and out loud laughs that are so therapeutic and necessary for a healthy and balanced life? Here are some ideas that may help you in your quest for a good laugh:

Sources of Laughter

  • There’s an almost endless supply of laughter via television, movies and audio CDs. Build up a library of your favorite sitcoms, movies and comedy CDS.
  • Save those funny novels and books of jokes for a rainy or teary day.
  • Clip cartoons that make you giggle from magazines and newspapers, keep them in a scrap book and pull them out when the need strikes you.
  • Set up a desktop folder on your computer with funny video clips from YouTube, jokes, and links to various funny websites.
  • Whatever tickles your funny bone, keep it on hand, for a quick dose of laugher.
  • Get together with friends for some lively conversation, a movie night, or perhaps suggest playing a group game such as charades and everyone involved will forget the stresses of the day.
  • Recognize the humor in your every day life. Instead of complaining about life’s frustrations, try making light of them.
  • If something is happening in your life that is so frustrating and depressing it’s almost leaning towards the absurd, realize that you will quite likely “look back on it and laugh”.
  • Make a frustrating experience into a story that you can tell your friends and family and just see if you can’t laugh about it now.

Life is too short to dwell on the negative. Learn to laugh at yourself and life in general and you may find you are more lighthearted and silly, giving yourself and others more to laugh about. Even if you have to fake it, laugh! Studies have shown that positive emotional, physical, and psychological effects take place in your body whether your grin is real or fake. Smile and give your face a holiday! You never know it could very well lead to real smiles that can transform into laughter!

So next time you’re contemplating what you need to add to your Health Portfolio, start laughing. It’s an investment that will pay huge dividends and make your life richer in both health benefits and overall well-being.

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