Laughter is perhaps the best medicine.  Do you remember watching the late Victor Borge on television?  How about Liberace, Carol Burnett, Lucy or any of the great comedians?   As the cameras panned out over the live audiences, you would see people wiping tears from their eyes because of laughter.  Studies have shown that laughter can help relieve pain, bring greater happiness, and even increase immunity. [I]

Elizabeth Scott, MS is a stress management consultant who has written many articles.  She states that laughter has many health benefits.  It relieves stress.  Researchers at Loma Linda University studied the cortisol, epinephrine and dopac levels of volunteers before, during and after a humorous event they were anticipating.  They found that all levels of these stress hormones were reduced substantially by just anticipating the event.  Dr. Lee Berk, lead researcher for the team stated, “our findings lead us to believe that by seeking out positive experiences that make us laugh we can do a lot with our physiology to stay well”.  Ms. Scott continues by saying that laughter brings the focus away from anger, guilt, and other negative emotions.  Laughter also has social benefits in that it is contagious and connects us with others.[ii]

Laughter exercises the diaphragm, contracts the abs and works out the shoulders.   It even produces a good workout for the heart.  It brings the focus away from anger and negative emotions.  Laughter connects us with others. If you find more humor in your life, you can help others laugh more and realize these benefits

Laughter even was mentioned in numerous places in the Bible.  King David spoke of laughter in Ps. 126:2,3 when he wrote: Then was our mouth filled with laughter, and our tongue with singing: then said they among the heathen, The Lord hath done great things for them.  The Lord hath done great things for us; whereof we are glad.  In Luke 6:21 Jesus comforted us by saying “Blessed are ye that hunger now, for ye shall be filled.  Blessed are ye that weep now, for ye shall laugh.”

One word of warning is that we can laugh too hard. In a recent article in Health Day News, study co-author Dr. Jelena Ghadri, resident cardiologist at University Hospital Zurich in Switerland stated  that extreme emotions can trigger chest pain, breathlessness, heart attack and even death.  This is extremely rare and is referred to as takotsubo syndrome.  In a small percentage of cases this syndrome was caused by laughing too hard. [iii]

Bottom line:  Find humor in your life.  If something is so frustrating or depressing it is ridiculous, realize it is just that.  If you reach the bottom of life, there is no way to go but up.  Think of the positive, appreciate your family, friends and where you are in life.  Remember, no matter how bad things are, someone out there is worse off than you.  So, smile, laugh out loud and be happy!

If you have any questions, call us at (716) 648-2273.  Stress is a major health issue for caregivers.  If you need some time off, give us a call.  We can care for your loved one so you can have some respite time.   Remember, our aim is to be the best caregiving agency in Western New York.  We strive for that and are proud of the service we provide.

 

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[i] About.com, Elizabeth Scott, MS.,The Stress Management and Health Benefits of Laughter, July 2015

[ii] About.com,. Elzabeth Scott,  MS, Health Benefits of Anticipating Laughter, April, 2015

[iii] Daily Health News, Happiness Might Sometimes Harm Your Health, Study Finds, March3, 2016