How Does Laughter Therapy Help You Live Longer?
When it comes to relieving stress and healing faster, more giggles and guffaws are just what the doctor ordered. Here’s why.
Sucheta Bannerjee a 24-year-old psychology student recently shared a very insightful message with us.
In her note, she said, “ When I came to visit my grandmother who is convalescing at your continuum care center after a stroke, I found her extremely happy and comfortable to my amazement.”Initially, her grandmother, Saswati Bannerjee a 77-year-old recovering from an ischemic stroke, was skeptical and resistant to be admitted to a continuum care center. But to Sucheta’s surprise, within a month, her grandmother was not only very well settled but also was looking forward to her treatment each day.
Curious, Sucheta decided to spend an entire day with Saswati at our center, and of course, she was most welcome. During the day Sucheta found the answer she was looking for. The reason for her grandmother‘s newfound excitement was the company she had. She had made friends with 3 other women and they had become a team. They went for therapy together, conversed, shared jokes, and laughed a lot. This laughter and support helped them endure the treatment more effectively and the result was that they were showing good progress.
Kevin Hart, an American actor and comedian says,” Laughter heals all wounds and that’s one thing that everybody shares. No matter what you are going through, it makes you forget about your problems. I think the world should keep laughing.”
Laughter has long been recognized as a universal language that transcends cultural barriers, connecting people and fostering positive emotions. Beyond its inherent joy, laughter has been found to possess remarkable healing properties. Laughter therapy, also known as humor therapy or laughter yoga, is an emerging field that utilizes laughter as a therapeutic tool.
Dr. Lee Berk and Dr. Stanley Tan at Loma Linda University in California have researched the benefits of laughter and found amazing results related to the importance of laughter.
Here are 8 ways how laughter therapy helps you recover faster
1. The Physiology of Laughter:
When we laugh, our body experiences a series of physiological changes. Laughter triggers the release of endorphins, our body’s natural feel-good chemicals. These endorphins promote a sense of well-being, reduce pain perception, and boost our immune system. Additionally, laughter increases the production of dopamine, a neurotransmitter associated with pleasure and reward, which further enhances our mood.
2. Stress Reduction and Immune Enhancement:
Chronic stress weakens the immune system, making individuals more susceptible to illness and delaying the healing process. Laughter therapy acts as a potent stress reducer by reducing levels of cortisol, a stress hormone. Studies have shown that laughter therapy decreases cortisol levels, leading to reduced stress and anxiety. By alleviating stress, laughter therapy indirectly enhances the immune system, allowing the body to devote more resources to healing by activating T-cells that help you fight sickness.
3. Pain Management:
Laughter’s ability to reduce pain perception is well-documented. When we laugh, our body releases endorphins, which act as natural painkillers. The analgesic effect of laughter can be particularly beneficial for patients recovering from surgery or dealing with chronic pain conditions. Incorporating laughter therapy into pain management programs can help reduce the reliance on pain medications and improve overall well-being.
4. Cardiovascular Health:
Laughter has been found to have positive effects on cardiovascular health. When we laugh heartily, our heart rate and blood pressure temporarily rise before returning to normal or even below-normal levels. This surge in heart rate and subsequent relaxation promote better blood flow and improve vascular function. Regular laughter therapy can contribute to better heart health and aid in the prevention of cardiovascular diseases.
5. Psychological Benefits:
In addition to its physiological effects, laughter therapy offers a range of psychological benefits. Laughter serves as a coping mechanism, helping individuals find humor and resilience in challenging situations. It promotes a positive mindset, reduces depression and anxiety symptoms, and fosters social connections. By fostering a more positive outlook, laughter therapy can enhance overall psychological well-being, which in turn aids the recovery process.
6. Enhanced Social Support and Connection:
Laughter is contagious, and when shared in a group setting, it creates bonds and strengthens social connections. Laughter therapy sessions often involve group activities, games, and playful exercises, which facilitate social interaction and foster a sense of belonging. This increased social support and connection can provide emotional stability and reduce feelings of isolation, contributing to a faster recovery.
7. Lowered blood pressure:
People who lower their blood pressure, even those who start at normal levels, will reduce their risk of stroke and heart attack. So grab the Sunday paper, flip to the funny pages, and enjoy your laughter medicine.
8. Toned abs:
One of the benefits of laughter is that it can help you tone your abs. When you are laughing, the muscles in your stomach expand and contract, similar to when you intentionally exercise your abs. Meanwhile, the muscles you are not using to laugh are getting an opportunity to relax.
Laughter therapy harnesses the innate power of laughter to improve physical, emotional, and psychological well-being. By reducing stress, enhancing immune function, managing pain, promoting cardiovascular health, and fostering positive social connections, laughter therapy plays a valuable role in accelerating the recovery process. As an accessible and enjoyable therapeutic modality, laughter therapy has the potential to complement traditional medical treatments and improve overall patient outcomes. Embracing laughter as medicine may pave the way for a brighter and happier approach to healthcare.
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