Laugh your way to good health

Emily Hurley-Wilkinson

Published 29/11/2012 | 08:58

A DAY without laughter is a day unfulfilled!

How often do you laugh? Several times a day, perhaps at some points during the week, or do you have trouble remembering the last time you had a good laugh!

Perhaps you're so caught up with deadlines, school events, appointments, work and so on that you do not realise that you are taking life too seriously! Maybe you take yourself too seriously?

Think back to a time when you had a good laugh, how did you feel? Great, no doubt, because laughter makes you feel good. And the good feeling that you get when you laugh remains with you even after the laughter subsides.

We live in demanding times where life can get very stressful. And now we know that stress weakens the immune system leaving us vulnerable to disease and illness.

Today, scientific evidence supports the fact that humour provides a powerful antidote to the immune suppressive effects of stress! So in other words Laughter is good for your mental and physical health!

Consider this: * Laughter relaxes the whole body. A hearty laugh dissolves tension and stress causing muscles to relax. It also decreases stress hormones thus boosting your immune system. * Laughter triggers the release of endorphins, the body's natural feel- good chemicals. Endorphins promote an overall sense of wellbeing and enhances mood. * Laughter protects the heart. Laughter improves the function of blood vessels and increases blood flow, which can help protect you against cardiovascular problems. With so much power to ease anxiety, relieve stress, improve moods and boost immunity, laughter can also enhance our social lives. Not only does laughter attract others to us but it can help diffuse tension and conflict and strengthen relationships. Here are some ways to lighten up your life: * Laugh at yourself and at situations. Recall times that you took yourself too seriously and laugh at the absurdity of it. Look for the humour or the positive side of difficult situations rather than bemoan them. * Get active. Working up a sweat releases endorphins; your bodies happy chemicals, in to your bloodstream making it easier to find the joy in things. * Release the inner child. Map out time to play! All those things that you once loved doing but fell by the wayside because you believe you're too old or too busy! These usually involve things that you did when you were younger - bowling, crazy golf, comedy club, a games night with friends, fun based sports, going to the cinema, dancing etc * Let go of judgements and criticism and shift perspective. Many things in life are beyond our control, particularly the behaviour of other people. Is it really worth getting upset about. Will it matter in a week, month or year? What is the bigger picture?

Through humor, you can soften some of the worst blows that life delivers. And once you find laughter, no matter how painful your situation might be, you can survive it'

Remember you will always have the power of choice. You can live your life with more joy, laughter and positivity or you can choose not to! That choice is yours and yours alone. Choose wisely - Bill Cosby

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