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Health is Humor

Preye Raymond is a leading content writer, who enjoys discussing topics relating to self-improvement, self-education and social issues.

health-is-humor

Having a good laugh doesn’t simply shake you out of the funk, it also provides substantial benefits that can enhance your overall health.




Developing a sense of humor is a self-help remedy that ensures mental and physical health, without constantly seeking medical interventions or therapeutic sessions.




I had the rare opportunity to interview a journalist from Lagos, a 50-year-old mother of three named Joy.




She claimed that, for over 20 years she has not visited a psychologist or a doctor concerning any health complications or illness.




I prompted her to share her secret for attaining such a streak, and she answered;



A good laugh will be first. It helps me a lot: Opens up my mind in a positive way, It's boost my personality and self-esteem and cures my depressions as I will forget about my worries for a moment. I don’t even need to visit a therapist or doctor regularly, and that has saved me time and money”.



She also added that -oftentimes, people trivialize the healthy benefits associated with humor, and this has led them to spend more time and money on therapists, medications, and treatments, in an attempt to cure minor illnesses or disorders that could easily be fixed with good laughter therapy.



Laughter therapy is simply a noninvasive treatment for mental and physical illnesses that can be practiced by anyone, for example; laughter yoga- which is a voluntary and spontaneous form of laughter.


Another thorough and admirable definition of laughter therapy by physical therapist Jongeun Yim, states that;


Laughter therapy is a noninvasive and non-pharmacological alternative treatment for stress and depression, representative cases that have a negative influence on mental health.”




Humor is healthy for several benefits and they are both psychological and physiological:


1) Mental Stability

Laughter improves our sanity, which consequently increases our rate of productivity.



When someone makes me laugh, or I see something funny, I feel more focused and confident to go back to what I was working on earlier”, said Jane, a medical doctor from Okolobiri Teaching Hospital in Bayelsa state. “I always encourage patients to laugh more, instead of thinking about their problems, that way they don’t worsen the case by being depressed” she added.




Taking a break to engage with someone hysterical, or to engage in humorous activities, e.g watching a funny movie or a comedy show etc, revitalizes your mental capacity to focus and be willing to complete a task or project. It also relieves the mind of anxiety, mental stress, and depression.


2) Eases Emotional Tension

Emotional tension or imbalance is often as a result of chronic mental disorders or mental illnesses (depression, anxiety, etc).



People who are emotionally tensed hardly laugh at anything. They take jokes too seriously and become outraged when someone clowns around them or teases them a little. Some even perceive laughter as a form of emotional weakness.



Having a funny moment, or developing a sense of humor doesn’t make you appear weak if done properly and with moderation.



It eases tension so that your mind can feel relaxed, and like I noted earlier-it eliminates anxiety, depression, and stress.



In a social setting, displaying a good sense of humor, makes you appear emotionally healthy to others and it increases your chances of connecting with the right people.



3) Improves Positivity

Optimism improves longevity and a general sense of well-being. Those who are hysterical, or practice laughter therapy are always positive, and they live longer than those who do not.



Laughing is known to trigger the secretion of happy hormones such as; endorphins (pleasure hormone) and oxytocin (or cuddle hormone) which are responsible for optimism, empathy, trust, and love.



Ever wondered why most comedians age gracefully? Laughter naturally ignites happiness, peace, and positivity, which are essential for a healthy lifestyle.




Founder of the Gesundheit Institute, Patch Adams wrote;


Develop your own clown-self. Clowning is a trick to bring love close! Humor softens the edges of uncomfortable situations”.


Life shouldn’t be taken too seriously. Even with its ebbs and flows, it is still important to remain positive by creating your own funny moments and experiences.


health-is-humor

4) Improves Cardiac Health

This is one major physiological health benefit of laughter. It stabilizes your blood pressure and reduces the risk of having heart attacks or stroke.



When having a guffaw or a cackle watching a funny podcast or video clip, your heart pumps and circulates more blood than normal, which is a similar result you get from dancing, exercising, or engaging in sexual activities.

5) Boosts Immunity

Having a sense of humor improves your immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies.



Harboring negative thoughts, being mentally stressed, and being emotionally tensed can manifest into poisonous chemical reactions that can decrease one’s immunity to diseases.



Given that laughter reduces stress, triggers endorphins and oxytocin, which results in positive and pleasurable thoughts, it also causes the release of neuropeptides to combat other serious illnesses and potential threats to the body.


6) Muscle Relaxation


Humor helps with muscle relaxation and exercises, especially your jaws and your guts.



Anytime you laugh or grin, your jawlines become activated, which gives your facial muscles a good stretch. Notice how your jaw feels a bit tight and tired after several minutes or hours of laughing? That evidently shows a good facial workout.



Again, laughter is propelled by your guts. Each time you laugh, your abdominal muscles contract to release enough air while laughing, and then relax when laughing is over.



E.C. LaMeaux posits that:


One of the benefits of laughter is that it can help you tone your abs. When you are laughing, the muscles in your stomach expand and contract, similar to when you intentionally exercise your abs”.



This doesn’t mean that laughing for long hours is a guarantee to get six-packs or eight-packs, you still need your regular workout routines and balanced meals to make that happen.


health-is-humor

The awareness of using humor as a therapeutic approach to treat psychological and physiological illnesses is sporadic in most medical centers and institutions in major parts of the world.




In a paper by Adam.J. Rindfleisch, he suggests that simply mentioning that laughter, humor and fun are important in life can be helpful to one’s patient. He affirms that;



If you say it as a clinician, patients are likely to pay attention...Remember it is NOT just about recommending it, but intentionally bringing it into your daily practice and your life in general. As appropriate, share your humor with your patients and your colleagues. It will enhance their whole health, and it will enhance yours too...”




Health and medical conventions, forums, institutions, and unions should do well to propagate and instill the use of humor as a positive medical practice for treating chronic diseases and disorders.

Acknowledgement

Special thanks to Mrs Joy Ifidi & Dr Jane Ojeogwu for contributing their thoughts to this article. I am truly grateful.


If you enjoyed reading this post, feel free to share your thoughts, comments and observations with me here: preyeraymondwrites@gmail.com

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2021 Preye Raymond

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