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In a prior blog, we discussed staying mentally and emotionally well. Laughter, of course, is a key factor in helping us maintain our emotional and mental health. What exactly are the effects of laughter?
Physically – when someone laughs – it’s very difficult to keep muscles tense (unless they are your abdominal muscles when you are in the midst of a belly laugh!). At the same time, you may have your mouth open, taking deep breaths, and your eyes may even be watering from laughing so hard. All of this is happening while your immune system is being bolstered and your hormones related to stress are dropping. Endorphins -naturally produced chemicals from your body – are being released, which help with pain control, even if it is temporary.
If you are in a social setting, sharing the laughter can help improve or build on the relationships of the group, and help develop a shared memory of that particular moment. When social bonding occurs, that can help promote a sense of wellness and belonging. Have you ever seen someone get the giggles in a group, and everyone else tries to not laugh? It’s not always a successful venture! Laughing can help break any tensions and de-stress situations.
How do you find humor? There are many ways to do this on a regular basis, which include:
Don’t take yourself too seriously – see how you can create your own smile factory. Try brushing your teeth with the opposite hand – it may not be pretty, and it will likely make you smile!!! Think of small steps that bring fun into your life, share them with others, everyone will be better for it.
What are some of the best ways to get you laughing?
Author: Cheryl A. Acres RN, CCM