Q: Why do bees have sticky hair?
A: Because they use honey combs!
I know it’s a corny dad joke, but I use it to make a point. Silliness and laughter are important!
Good health isn’t just about eating our veggies and getting proper exercise; it’s equally important to relax, play, and laugh. We’ve all heard that “laughter is the best medicine,” and it’s true!
There are so many benefits of laughing. For starters, it can deepen your bonds with other people, help you feel more alive, and ease your anxieties. Laughter also lowers your blood pressure, reduces stress hormone levels, boosts your immunity, and releases endorphins, which helps relieve pain and puts you in a somewhat euphoric state. Plus, a big belly laugh may even strengthen your abs! And who couldn’t use that?
The benefits of laughter are so universally recognized that laughter therapy has become a widely used modality for holistic healing. The National Cancer Institute defines it as “a type of therapy that uses humor to help relieve pain and stress and improve a person’s sense of well-being.” It may also be used to “help people cope with a serious disease, such as cancer. Laughter therapy may include laughter exercises, clowns, and comedy movies, books, games, and puzzles.”
Did you know that the average four-year-old laughs 300 times a day, while the average 40-year-old only laughs four times!? It’s unfortunate, but true. Laughter therapy is a helpful step in reminding adults how to use their inborn gift of laughter to cultivate greater joy and health.
There are two primary types of laughter: involuntary and social.
Involuntary laughter is a natural physiological response your body has. In other words, we are not consciously choosing to laugh, and often we can’t stop ourselves! Similar to sneezing, we don’t have control over it or choose when it comes – it just arises.
Social laughter is used as a method for communicating with others. For instance, if you’re talking to a friend and they tell you a story, you may giggle to let them know, “I am listening, and I think that is a silly story.” You are not taken over by laughter, but are instead compassionately connecting with your friend.
Both types of laughter are beneficial for our health in their own right. As I reflect on my closest friends, most are those that I tend to have huge belly laughs with. Like the kind of laughs where you cry. Those kind of belly laughs! Those are the people I love to surround myself with. How about you?
You may recall a movie years ago named Patch Adams. The late Robin Williams portrayed real life doctor, Hunter (Patch) Adams, who inspired millions by bringing fun and laughter back into the hospital and putting into practice the idea that healing should be a loving human interchange, not a business transaction. Dr. Adams is the founder of the Gesundheit Institute, a holistic medical community that provides free medical care to patients. Find out more about his work here: www.patchadams.org
When I just recall the memory of something that cracked me up years ago, I often laugh just as big today as I did then. I encourage you to try this! What makes you laugh? What is your favorite funny memory of the past? Who can you connect with today for a good laugh? I encourage you to put your light-hearted, fun, creative abilities up to the challenge. Watch a comedy, call a friend, recall a funny memory, lighten up and laugh! It’ll do you good!
To learn more about laugh therapy read this: https://www.treehugger.com/what-is-laughter-therapy-4861591
And I guess I owe it to you to end this post with another cheesy joke, so here it goes:
Q: What do you call a pig that does karate?
A: A pork chop!
Oh well, cheesy laughter is still laughter. 😉
Wishing you laughter and wellness!