Have you ever heard the old saying, “Laughter is the best medicine?” I bet you have but did you ever think that it possibly could be true? Well, I invite you into a new world of adventure. Let’s pretend we are back to being a kid again. Can you remember a time that you laughed so hard, tears came in your eyes or your side hurt? I hope you can. If you can, I’m sure you can remember that the laughing episode actually gave you a little more energy and a good memory of it for a long time. I would like to try to explain to you how wonderful that episode of laughter did for your immune system.
A recent study performed by the University of Maryland had two sets of people watching movies. One set of people watched serious movies and programming while the other set of people watched funny movies.
It turned out that the set of people who watched the funny movies showed their arteries dilated and their blood pressure went down. As we all know, high blood pressure leads to serious problems.
It is found that when we laugh, there are 15 different muscles in our face that participate in our joy. Our respiratory system gets involved as well, which is why we can sometimes find our selves having a tiny breathing difficulty. We can also get the hiccups while laughing because the epiglottis is vibrating and half-closing over the larynx. This can make it more difficult to breathe. As our air intake ebbs and flows, so will our laughter. If our struggle for oxygen is strong enough, this will activate our tear ducts and cause us to tear up. The force of laughter causes us to have muscle contractions throughout our body. Our arms and legs, back, and diaphragm are involved in the contractions too.
Wow! I know what you are thinking, all of that sounds pretty serious. It sounds like laughter could be too hard on the body. Well, I have never heard of anyone laughing themselves to death. However, I have heard of people getting happy and changing their lives for the good benefits and in turn, they lived longer healthier lives. I have even heard of people going into remission from cancer or some other serious disease, just from making themselves laugh and putting laughter into their lives. The human body is an amazing machine which God created! This reaction to laughter causes the immune system to become stimulated and enhanced to come alive and work better for us.
Strange sounding, I know. But think about it. What if laughter worked? We’ll never know unless we try it. I think we all will agree, its much more fun to laugh than to cry, worry, or be angry. However, we all probably will agree that its harder than you would think to make it a habit to laugh. Maybe that’s where writing an affirmation on 3×5 cards and placing them around the house where you can see them so as to be a gentle reminder. Instead of watching a horror movie on TV, try to find a light-hearted movie to watch instead. Do what ever it takes. The main thing is to try to lighten your emotional load. Get those monkeys off your back. Your health depends on you.
–Dr Fredda Branyon