triggers body’s natural feel-good chemicals, lowers stress hormones, improves
memory and even aids weight loss
Sunny, a 19
year old young man from Chandigarh came all the way to Mumbai on the sets of a
popular television comedy shows in India. He travelled along with his ailing
mother only to thank the actors of the show for speedy recovery of his mother
who was battling depression for a long time. Sunny mentioned that for years
after the death of his father he had not seen his mother smile or laugh. She
looked stressed most of the times. She was diagnosed with depression. She
hardly interacted with anyone at home. Once while watching the show he saw her
smile and even laughing aloud. Every time she watched this particular show she
laughed like a child. Sunny then got recordings of the show and played them
whenever she felt like watching it. Every time she saw it she burst into
laughter. The feeling of happiness and laughter became a tool to fight her
depression. She even joined laughter club on insistence of her doctor. She was
almost cured of her depression and started talking to people at home and
around. She lived a normal life now. Her doctor actually wrote on her medical
papers that ‘Laughter indeed is the best medicine.’
It’s scientifically proven!!!
Laughter enhances memory & reduces stress levels
We are all aware of the mood-boosting
benefits of a good laugh. However, the researchers at California’s Loma Linda
University have found out that good humor can deliver more than just comic
relief. The study looked at 20 healthy older adults in their 60s and 70s,
measuring their stress levels and short-term memory. One group was asked to sit
silently, not talking, reading, or using their cellphones, while the other
group watched funny videos.
After 20 minutes, the participants were asked
to give their saliva samples and a short memory test was taken. The study
concluded that while both groups performed better after the break than before,
the “humor group” performed significantly better when it came to
memory recall. Participants who viewed the funny videos had much higher
improvement in recall abilities, 43.6 percent, compared with 20.3 percent in
the non-humor group.
humor group showed considerably lower levels of cortisol, the “stress
hormone,” after watching the videos. The non-humor group’s stress levels
decreased just slightly.
Laughter helps burn calories
Case study – Simmi weighed 84 kilos at 19 years of age. She felt hungry most
of the times and would impulsively reach out for junk food and chocolate to
satisfy her hunger pangs. She tried hard to cut out the junk food from her diet
but was unable to do so. She would often
feel guilty after eating it. Sarcastic remarks on her weight from friends and
family made her feel sad and she would often end up eating more to cope with
it. Nothing really motivated her to exercise or eat healthy.
changed one day when she made a new friend – John. John who was her classmate
had wonderful sense of humor and kept her laughing throughout the day with his
jokes and witty remarks. They would often spend hours together and Simmi found
herself laughing the day out. Soon she found her impulses to eat junk food and
sugar coated candies had reduced considerably. John who loved eating healthy
stuff encouraged her to do so too and within few days of their friendship Simmi
found herself eating salads for her lunch. She felt good. She used to take a
taxi from college to her home earlier. Now they would often walk the same
distance laughing throughout the way. By the end of one year from the day she
met John, Simmi reduced 12 kilos of weight. Surprisingly, she dint know how
until her doctor once told her, “The reason for your weight loss is happiness. Continue
laughing, stay happy and you would lose all your unwanted weight!”
He told her
that impulsive choice and impulsive response are both at play in some of our
unhealthy food choices. People are less likely to choose impulsively if they
have higher levels of serotonin – the happiness chemical. In Simmi’s case too
happiness and laughing had made her control her impulses and make wiser food
choices. Being with John made her happy and most of her day was spent laughing.
She would often be in cheerful mood and it motivated her to have regular
University study estimated that just 10-15 minutes of laughter a day can burn
up to 40 calories. Laughter gives the body a “mini aerobic workout”,
they believe. It causes the heart to beat faster, sending larger amounts of
blood around the body. Laughing out loud also makes the chest rise and fall,
which in turn means that stomach muscles have to work harder, which can help to
tighten them. The act of laughing can even help the skin, by using up to 15
facial muscles, helping to give the face a work out.
Pilcher, a neuroscientist who also works as a comedian, says, “We’re not
advocating you watch sitcoms 24 hours a day, but laughing away excess weight is
a great way to stay in shape. But you’ve got to avoid the temptation of
consuming extra calories whilst you are laughing.” Her research,
commissioned by UKTV Gold, found that an hour of strong laughter burns off
around 100 calories, the equivalent of a small bag of crisps or small bar of
chocolate. The same amount of calories could be worked off through half an hour
of weightlifting or by vacuuming for almost three quarters of an hour, the
Proven health benefits of laughter (in box)
Laughing helps lower blood pressure
Improves cardiac health
Laughter strengthens the immune system.
Reduces stress hormone levels
Triggers the release of endorphins, the body’s natural painkillers
(laughter therefore reduces pain and aids the healing process)
Produces a general sense of well-being
Raises your mood; joyfulness through laughter is the fastest way
to create a positive state of mind
Laughter creates and strengthens human connections
found that people who have a positive outlook on life tend to fight diseases
better than people who tend to be more negative.
Case study: Rati Gujrathi still laughs at
life despite two heart attacks and a bypass surgery. “Why not?” she
asks with a chuckle. “That’s what keeps me going. Wouldn’t it be awful if
I sat back and cried?” She would easily become the poster patient for one
of the growing number of healthcare organisations across the world, which are
now making humor and laughter a part of their treatment protocol. “Laughter
indeed may be like a good medicine,” says Dr. Ryan D’souza, who performed
bypass surgery on Rati. He adds, “I have seen that those patients who had the
will to live had a sense of humor and were able to use their humor in fighting
attitude and happy mood can add years to our lives. For example, a positive
outlook about ageing helps us live longer. One study examined 660 people and
found that those who felt positive about getting older lived seven and a half
years longer than those with a negative outlook about ageing. Whether we can
think of ageing in a positive way or a negative way matters. Even how we act –
whether we act younger or older than our real age – also plays a part in how
quickly we age. Mindset gives us far more control over the ageing process than
most people realise.
laugh, and live longer!
So what can be done to make laughter your medicine?
– Find what makes you laugh and include it in your daily routine.
laughter can be integrated into a whole personal wellness plan that can
translate into improvements in your quality of life: mind, body, and spirit.
Make a resolution, or set the intent to laugh
more. Here are 10 ways to make you laugh more.
1. Include Laughter in Your daily Routine: Many of us have a set routine
that we follow every day, especially in morning. How about adding laughter to
your morning routine? It will set a right mood for your day.
2. Read funny stuff: If you like reading, don’t skip the funny stuff in newspapers and
magazines. A little humor will only do you good.
3. Be with a Person/people with good sense of humor: Some people are just naturally
funny. These people are gems. They may have a way with words, or they may have
a wacky way of looking at the world. If you find one, befriend them.
4. Watch your Favorite Comedian often: Choose your favorite comedian and
look for some of their comedy videos online.
favorite comedy show: If you like watching TV, make sure that you are
watching shows that you really enjoy. Pick up your favorite comedy show and
watch it regularly.
on a date night: Go to a comedy club or watch a funny movie
on a date night. Laugh more with your partner. This will keep both your health
and your relationship strong.
Little Kid You Can Hang Out With: Kids haven’t forgotten how to
laugh yet. They’ll laugh at just about anything, and there are few things more
infectious than a kid’s laugh.
Have a pet
at home: A pet at home can bring immense happiness in life, so go get a
pet at home.
Games with Friends: Playing fun games with a group of friends
you enjoy hanging out with will have you laughing in no time.
a Scrapbook of Funny Things Your Family Members Say. Family members are a great source for funny
comebacks and sayings. Start a scrapbook to collect the funny things your
family does and the things they say. This will make you more aware of their
funny moments, which will make you appreciate them more.