Did you know that laughter is good for you ? Not only does it increase levels of happiness, it turns out that laughter can also be a form of exercise! When we laugh, we tend to breathe much deeper, just like we do when participating in aerobic exercise. If we laugh hard enough, we also engage our abdominal muscles, and can actually get a mini-workout in!
Laughter also provides several physiological benefits. It helps to decrease stress, thereby lowering our blood pressure and increasing blood flow. What a great way to reduce the risk of a heart attack! When we are less stressed, our muscles relax, and our immune system also gets a boost. It can also increase energy, and reduce pain through the release of endorphins. Think about it…how much better do you feel when you are laughing on a regular basis?
Many years ago, I was a whitewater raft quide. One day, in the midst of an incident, I found myself and half the paddlers from my boat sitting on top of a large rock in the middle of the river, my boat wrapped around the rock, with rushing water preventing me from easily getting the raft off the rock. None of my paddlers were comfortable in the water to begin with, so the entire time I worked to get the boat ready for the crew on shore to peel it off the rock, I cracked a bunch of jokes. This helped alleviate the stress of the situation for the nervous paddlers. Other people in our boating party were on the banks of the river thinking we were having a grand time…which we were! I recall after the trip my participants saying how my light attitude and ability to make them laugh helped calm their nerves. Using humor helped to shift our perspective from feeling threatening by the situation to it just being part of the adventure.
Find more ways to increase the laughter in your life…learn some new jokes and share them with friends….go to a comedy club….learn to laugh at yourself. Take life less seriouisly, and feel better! Its certainly cheaper and a lot more fun than going to the doctor!