From there to here, from here to there, funny things are everywhere.
— Dr. Seuss
The most wasted of all days is one without laughter. — e.e. cummings
April is National Humor Month! It's no coincidence that the month begins with April Fool's Day, a day which has sanctioned amusement for hundreds of years. National Humor Month was conceived as a means to heighten public awareness of the therapeutic value of humor. Laughter and joy - the benchmarks of humor - lead to improved well-being, boosted morale, increased communication skills, and an enriched quality of life.
The average adult laughs 17 times a day while a child laughs 300 times a day. There is a reason why we have always heard that laughter is the best medicine. Human emotions, such as anxiety, depression, fear, joy, and laughter, profoundly impact psychological and physiological processes. Both humor and laughter can be effective self-care tools to help us cope with stress, especially in the workplace. Finding humor and laughter in stressful situations can give us a sense of perspective on our problems. And it’s good for our health.
Studies from around the world have shown that an atmosphere of humor results in better patient cure, less anesthesia time, less operating time, and shorter hospital stays. Laughter causes the release of beta-endorphins in the hypothalamus, which leads to the release of nitric oxide, which dilates the vessels. And there’s more. Nitric oxide is a chemical that also protects the heart by reducing inflammation and preventing the formation of cholesterol plaque.
Here are just a few health benefits related to laughing.
Improves your mood – can lessen depression, anxiety and help you relax.
Improves your immune system – positive thoughts from laughter release neuropeptides that help fight stress and potentially more-serious illnesses. Laughter boosts the number of antibody-producing cells, which leads to a stronger immune system.
Activates multiple organs – stimulates your heart, lungs and muscles.
Laughing is much more than an emotional response to something funny, it also evokes a physical response. Laughing exercises several muscles in the body, including your abdomen, back, shoulders, and facial muscles. Also, laughter is a great workout for your respiratory system! Much like physical activity, such as running, which increases the endorphins that are released by your brain, laughter has the same effect on your body.
So in addition to healthy eating and exercise, add some time for laughter throughout your day to improve your health.
Catch up on your favorite TV comedy show
Practice laughing for 5 minutes
Play with children or pets
Host game night with friends
Find humor in a stressful situation
Share a good joke or a funny story
Go to a “laughter yoga” class
Listen to a comedy show while working out
Spend time with people who make you laugh