Laughter Can Be Good Medicine - Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare

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Laughter Can Be Good Medicine

Go ahead! Laugh until you can't laugh any longer - let your eyes well up with tears of happiness; your abdomen, pump with the muscle movements of a good belly laugh; your sides, expand and contract until you feel you just can't do it any longer.

Feel the release? Just a sense of peace and maybe some fatigue, depending on how hard you worked it.

Whether it's a giggle or a full out burst of joy, research has shown that laughter helps:

  • Ease depression
  • Lower blood pressure - and reduce risk for heart disease
  • Promote relaxation
  • Reduce stress
  • Increase endorphins, resulting in a sense of well being
  • Increase our enjoyment of life
  • Strengthen the immune system
  • Improve our bonding with those around us

Finding Good Humor All Around Us

If you're someone who doesn't laugh as much as you'd like, you have a number of ways to get started on your own adventure toward a better sense of humor:

  • Get a "dose" of humor. Stop sitting around waiting for someone or something funny to come your way—go out and get it! Rent a funny movie, hang out with your silliest friend, read a funny book, make time for your favorite sitcom, or check out the local stand-up comedy show. Do whatever it takes to tickle your funny bone.
  • Practice laughing. Practitioners say that the more you practice, the more you also laugh freely during your day. 
  • Laugh down memory lane. Even if today isn't funny, you probably have some amusing memories. Revisit those times. If possible, take this trip down memory lane in the company of people who can share your laughter.
  • Seek professional help if you're down in the dumps. Sometimes depression, grief, anger, and other emotions and conditions make it seem like laughter is impossible. If you feel like you'll never laugh again, even though you want to, you might want to talk with your family doctor or a mental health professional about your situation.

If you can embrace the funnier side of life despite stress, your busy schedule, and anything else that may be getting you down, you may laugh your way to better health.

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