Monthly Archives: July 2012

Laugh a little…more

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What’s infectious, free, and available to nearly everyone?  NO, it’s not an STD.  Try a little humor once in a while.  The sound of people falling over laughing is far more contagious than any sneeze, cough, or itch (which you may want to get checked).  Sharing smiles and laughter with others brings people together in happiness and intimacy.  Laughter has profound impacts on the body; such as, boosting your energy, strengthening your immune system, diminishing pain, and reducing your body’s stress response.  Best of all it’s easy to use, fun, and you don’t need a shot of penicillin afterwards.

“Against the assault of laughter, nothing can stand.”

-Mark Twain

Now let’s look at the biochemical impact of laughter. When you laugh, there’s a lot more going on in your body than just the physical effect. You’re also experiencing a biochemical benefit.

Your body manufactures chemicals based on certain needs and the sends them throughout your entire body.  It has been said that for every sixty seconds of laughter, you produce around $10,000 worth of HEALTHY body chemistry, versus if you had to go out and actually buy the refined, processed compounds from labs or pharmaceutical companies, you would have to pay at least $10k for the same chemistry that your brain is producing for free when you laugh.
Who can afford that in today’s economy? (Please do not try to sell your brain chemistry!)

Some of these are fun, brain-altering chemicals, such as serotonin; others are immune-boosting chemicals such as interleukins and pain-killing endorphins.  And yet, once again, you can create these chemicals for yourself at no cost by simply laughing!

Google “psychoneuroimmunology,” it’s a fascinating specialty that looks at the link between the mind and immune system function. What researchers have found in this field is that your state of mind has everything to do with the functioning of your immune system. By engaging in laughter, you can boost both your mind and your body.

  • Laughter relaxes the whole body. A jolly old laugh relieves tension and stress, leaving your muscles relaxed for up to 45 minutes after.
  • Laughter boosts the immune system. Laughter decreases stress hormones and increases immune      cells and infection-fighting antibodies, thus improving your resistance to disease.
  • Laughter triggers the release of endorphins, the body’s natural feel-good chemicals. Endorphins      promote an overall sense of well-being, increase orgasms and can even temporarily relieve pain.
  • Laughter protects the heart. Laughter improves the function of blood vessels an increases blood flow, which can help protect you against a heart attack and other cardiovascular problems.

Maybe, you could try creating opportunities to laugh; Check out a funny movie, go to a comedy club, hang out with funny people and share hilarious stories or play a stupid (but funny) game, play with a goofy pet.  Try to have some fun in life doing things that make you happy and laugh.

Bring more humor and laughter into your life, it is your birthright, a natural part of life that is innate and inborn. Infants begin smiling during the first weeks of life and laugh out loud within months of being born. Maybe, you didn’t have a lot to laugh about when you were younger but thankfully, you’re never too old to learn to laugh.

Here are some ways to start:

  • Smile.  Smiling is the beginning of laughter. Like laughter, it’s contagious. Have you ever found yourself in a bad situation where the only thing you could do was laugh?  Things suck less when      you laugh at them.  It’s already a bad situation, being pissed-off only makes that situation worse.  When you look at someone or see something even mildly pleasing, practice smiling. Better yet, try faking even if you really don’t like something or someone.
  • Be thankful and count your blessings. Literally make a list. It will remind you of the good even when things are bad.
  • When you hear laughter, move that way. Don’t but in on a conversation if it’s a private moment      or inside joke but if there are a group of people laughing, more often, people are happy to share so that maybe someone else will think they are funny. When you hear laughter, check it out and see “What’s funny?”
  • Spend time with fun, playful people. You know who they are, they (and you) laugh–both at      themselves and at life’s absurdities–and who are experts in finding everyday things to laugh at. Their playful point of view and laughter are contagious.
  • Bring humor into conversations. Ask people, “What’s the funniest thing that happened to you today? This week? In your life?”

Take yourself less Seriously for once!  Get a sense of humor.  One essential characteristic that helps us laugh is not taking ourselves too seriously. We’ve all known the classic tight-lipped duche who takes everything with deathly seriousness and never laughs at anything. No fun there!

Some events aren’t really sad and don’t really warrant a big laugh, in fact most events in life don’t carry an overwhelming sense of either boo or yippee. They fall into the gray zone of blah ordinary life–giving you the choice to laugh or not.

Laugh at yourself more. Share your embarrassing moments. That’s what friends are for.  Attempt to laugh at situations rather than whine about them.  Look for the humor in a bad situation, and uncover the irony and absurdity of life. This will help improve your mood and the mood of those around you.  Surround yourself with reminders to lighten up. Keep a daily reminder to smile and laugh, whether it’s a goofy toy, funny poster or computer screensaver that makes you laugh.  Keep things in perspective.Many things in life are beyond your control—particularly the behavior of other people. While you might think taking the weight of the world on your shoulders is admirable, in the long run it’s unrealistic, unproductive, unhealthy, and even egotistical. Deal with your stressful issues. Stress is a major barrier to humor and laughter. Pay attention to children and be a little more like them. They are the experts on playing, taking life lightly, and laughing. Maybe, you ­­are just out of practice:

When dealing with a bad situation, ask yourself this:

  • Is it really worth getting upset over?
  • Is it worth upsetting others?
  • Is it that important?
  • Is it that bad?
  • Is the situation final and unchangeable?
  • Is it really your problem?

You may find that it’s really NOT THAT BIG OF A PROBLEM and it’s only TEMPORARY!

Life brings challenges that can either kick your butt or become your imaginations new play toy.  When you “become the problem” and take yourself too seriously, it’s tough to think outside the box and find new solutions. But when you play with the problem, you can often transform it into an opportunity for creative learning.

Kids have it down already. When they are confused or afraid, they make their problems into a game, giving them a sense of control and an opportunity to experiment with new solutions. Playing with others helps you retain this creative ability.

As laughter, humor, and play become an integrated part of your life, your creativity will flourish and new discoveries for fun with friends, coworkers, acquaintances, and loved ones will happen more and more. Humor takes you to a higher place (remember the chemicals) where you can view the world from a more chilled, positive, creative, happy, and balanced perspective.

Health & Happiness,

Dr. Mik