• Laugh Three Times and Call Me in the Morning

    IMAGE Can laughter really help us heal? Anecdotal evidence and some studies seem to point in that direction. Scientists are still investigating, but why wait for them to figure it out? Just yuck it up. It certainly cannot hurt.

    The Benefits of Laughter

    Laughter is a powerful coping mechanism that you rely on when you need to lighten your mood. The health benefits associated with laughter are also convincing enough to give this free treatment a try.
    Researchers have found that laughter may:
    • Bolster the immune system
    • Lower stress hormones
    • Decrease pain
    • Relax muscles
    • Prevent heart disease
    • Lessen fear and anxiety

    Laughing It Off

    If you're looking for ways to start laughing it up, consider these methods:
    • Pickup a joke book or collection of funny essays
    • Watch a funny movie or TV show
    • Share a good joke or funny story
    • Make time for fun activities, such as playing miniature golf
    • Go to a comedy club
    • Put together some quotes or photos that make you smile and post them where you can see them
    • Keep a funny audio book in the car and listen to it while you are stuck in traffic
    • Watch or listen to a comedy
    • Read comic books
    So, the next time you feel ill, add a little laughter to your treatment plan. It may help ease your pain.

    RESOURCES

    Association for Applied and Therapeutic Humor http://www.aath.org/

    Mental Health America http://www.nmha.org/

    CANADIAN RESOURCES

    Canadian Mental Health Association http://www.cmha.ca/

    Mental HealthHealth Canada http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/hl-vs/mental/index-eng.php

    References

    Create joy and satisfaction. Mental Health America website. Available at: http://www.mentalhealthamerica.net/go/live-your-life-well/joy. Accessed September 25, 2012.

    Laughter is the best medicine. HelpGuide.org website. Available at: http://www.helpguide.org/life/humor%5Flaughter%5Fhealth.htm. Accessed September 25, 2012.

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