Laughter may seem light-hearted, but it's actually a potent antidote to stress & pain and a surprising youth-boosting secret. Laughter works magic by triggering physiological changes in the body.
According to HelpGuide.org, a non-profit resource for mental and emotional health, laughter...
Relaxes the whole body. A hearty laugh is said to relieve physical tension and stress, leaving your muscles relaxed for up to 45 minutes.
Boosts the immune system. Laughter decreases stress hormones and increases immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies, thereby strengthening your defense against disease.
Improves your sense of well-being. Laughter triggers the release of endorphins, the body's natural 'feel-good' chemicals. These work to promote an overall sense of well-being and can even help relieve pain.
Protects your heart. Laughter can get your blood moving and improve the function of your blood vessels, both of which can help protect against cardiovascular problems.
Reduces distressing emotions. Laughter can help diminish feeliongs of anger, sadness or anxiety.
Shifts your perspective. Sometimes laughter is just the thing you need to break the tension and see a situation in a more realistic, less threatening light.
Adds joy and emotional strength to relationships. Shared laughter is an important part of strong, lasting relationships. It's a way to heal sorrows, soothe disagreements, and unite people during difficult times.
I love to laugh, and I gravitate towards books, films or TV that gets me laughing. I chuckled when I read this passage this morning from the latest book I've been reading by Anne Lamott, one of my favorite authors. The book is called Some Assembly Required, A Journal of My Son's First Son. I love her understated humor.
"I have a fabulous beautiful vintage dress from the fifties that I always wear when I perform weddings. It's soft rose with cap sleeves, a scooped neckline, lots of shimmering pink sequins, and side zippers from the waist to the armpits.
I went to get it out yesterday for Stevo's wedding to Annette this Sunday--and it had shrunk in the closet. I hate when this happens. I could zip it up when I put it on, although the the zipper kept trapping and pinching bits of rib-cage fat...I did get the dress on and the zippers zipped, but barely. I haven't lost my grandbaby fat. Also, what happens in a dark closet, when there is no air circulating, is that the fabric can't breathe, and it dies a little every day. It atrophies and contracts, like old apples or balloons. I'm certain of it."