How many times have you heard it said over the years; “laughter is the best medicine”?
Plenty, I’ll bet. I have always thought there is nothing that makes you feel better than a good old fashioned belly laugh.
The Mayo Clinic talks about stress relief from laughter? It’s no joke. Whether it be at work or at play, laughter therapy is very real.
It is well documented that high stress levels are detrimental to our health which is why the Mayo Clinic says, “Whether you’re guffawing at a sitcom on TV or quietly giggling at a newspaper cartoon, laughing does you good. Laughter is a great form of stress relief, and that’s no joke. A good sense of humour can’t cure all ailments, but data is mounting about the positive things laughter can do.”
Humour, Laughing and Playing Games for Good Health
The idea that you can use humor, laughter, and play to promote your health probably seems too simple to be true. But it really is true and it is that simple.
A good sense of humor, regular bouts of laughter and playing games all have a part in keeping us healthy. There are many benefits to increasing the amount of humour, laughter, and playing into your life; collectively it will affect you mentally, physically and socially.
Humor and Laughter
The sound of laughter is infectious don’t you think? Have you ever heard a belly laugh of a young child and been able to resist smiling in return? The sound of a roaring laugh is far more contagious than a sniffle, sneeze, cough, moan or groan.
When laughter is shared between people, it binds them together and increases happiness and intimacy. Laughter is will stimulate your vital organs, it can help ease pain (unless you have a broken rib), relieve your stress levels, put you in a better mood and improve your immune system.
Some of the physical benefits of laughing include:
• Boosted Immunity
• Lower stress hormones
• Preventing heart disease
• Relaxing your muscles
• Decreasing pain.
Some of the mental benefits of laughing more include:
• Easing anxiety and fear
• Improving mood
• Adding joy and zest to life
• Stress relief
• Enhancing resilience.
Some of the social benefits of laughter include:
• Enhancing teamwork
• Helps to diffuse conflict
• Promotes group bonding
• Strengthens relationships.
• Attracts others to us.
What About the Benefits of Playing More?
Play is an important part of ensuring you stay healthy. We are encouraged all the time to make sure our children play, and are told of the benefits to children being outside playing.
Take a minute to stand back and watch a group of kids playing together; listen to them laughing and squealing with joy.
What we often tend to forget is, it is just as important for adults to incorporate play into their lives as it is for children.
There is no age limit to the lifelong advantages of playing with fervour.
It is well proven that physical play (exercise) is very important for baby boomer health.
It helps delay or prevent cognitive decline.
There is also no situation that is too serious for play not to be included. Playing at work is essential for getting through stressful situations.
Play gives people the emotional distance to rally from a hard day. This is also true for people who have a dangerous job, such as a police officer, but can also be just as important for those people who work in an office or from home.
Some of the benefits of playing more include:
• Stress relief
• Improved brain function
• Boosted creativity and productivity
• Improved relationships
• Helps you feel younger.
Play is also great for relationships
It brings joy, vitality, and resilience to our relationships and also helps us learn how to trust one another and feel safe.
7 Easy Ways to Incorporate More Laughter, Play and Humor into Your Life
1. Be more spontaneous: Being spontaneous helps you to get out of your head and away for your troubles.
2. Smile: Smiling is the beginning of laughter. A smile is also just as contagious as laughter is. When you experience something even mildly pleasing, practice smiling. Smile at everyone you pass in the street, you will feel happier just by sharing a smile, even with a stranger.
3. Watch comedy: Comedy shows, either live or on television or DVD are a great and effortless way to laugh more. There are tons of comedians to choose from, so there is something for everyone.
4. Count your blessings: By making a list of all the good things in your life, you will see all the reasons you have to smile. Making a list of all the good in your life will also help you focus more on the good and forget about the bad.
5. Spend time with fun, playful people: These are the people who find humor in everyday events. Their laughter is contagious. These are also the people who are more likely to be willing to play a game with you.
6. Dance whenever you can: It sounds silly. However, letting your body moves gets your blood flowing and increases endorphins.
7. Set up a games night: Game nights take minimal effort and will encourage laughter, play, and emotional release. Playing games together, like cards and board games, is a great way to stay connected and engaged with your family and friends.
Incorporating more play, humor, and laughter into your life isn’t difficult and yet it brings a multitude of benefits to your life.
Try taking just ten to fifteen minutes a day to implement some of the above tips into your life; it is enough for you to begin seeing the positive effects in a very short space of time.