Thursday, March 31, 2016

Laughter really is the best medicine

Adults don't laugh enough.  It is said that children laugh 300 times a day.  They giggle, they chuckle, they belly laugh and it all adds up to an average 300 times a day.  Adults on the other hand experience laughter less than 20 times a day. (on average)

Studies show that laughter is a great medicine for us. Several years ago there was an actual study where they invited people to watch a sitcom or a drama after work. They took blood work, blood pressure and measured heart rates both before and after the shows.  They learned that those that watched the sitcom lowered their blood pressure and blood sugar levels and went home happier and more relaxed than those that watched the drama.  This study also links laughter to relieving stress in our lives.  It's like a valve that releases the pent up emotions that often cause us stress.

Another study done in 2011 shows that laughing during a 15 minute comedy video increases our pain threshold by 10%.  The study shows that contracting your muscles during laughter releases the same endorphins as exercise, which help us fight pain.

We also burn calories when we laugh.  That's right, we burn up to 40 calories per 15 minutes laughed.  So if we can laugh for 60 minutes a day, that would be equivalent to rowing for 17 minutes.  Wouldn't you rather laugh!

So why don't adults laugh more often?  As we age we have more to worry about, grades and friends turn to work and family.  We have more responsibility, we may have less trust and we are always in a hurry.  We simply don't think we have time to laugh at the many funnies life has to offer.  But these studies show we really don't have time NOT to laugh.

Today is a good day to laugh a little more.  And if you are having trouble finding something to laugh about, find a child, they can help you without even thinking about it.