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The Healing Power of Laughter

June 18th, 2014 by Hale Dwoskin

When’s the last time you laughed until your face got red and your belly hurt? Snickered uncontrollably with delight? Laughed so hard that others around you couldn’t help but start laughing too?

If it’s been awhile, go ahead and give yourself permission to laugh regularly and often. Aside from feeling good, laughing has real benefits to your health (that are no laughing matter!).

A Laugh a Day Could Keep the Doctor Away

Numerous studies have found that laughter reduces stress and improves health in the following ways:

  • It raises endorphin levels, which contribute to a feeling of well-being, and human growth hormone levels, which some say may slow the aging process. In one California study, participants experienced these benefits just by thinking about watching a funny movie; Beta-endorphins were 27 percent higher and human growth hormone 87 percent higher among those who were expecting to see a comedy.
  • Laughing is good for your heart. Researchers at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore found that laughing impacts how well blood vessels are able to expand (the better they expand, the lower your chances of heart attack and stroke). After volunteers watched a funny movie, blood flow significantly increased (by 22 percent) in 19 of the 20 volunteers. Further, laughing, the researchers said, improved volunteers blood flow the equivalent of what would be seen after a 15- or 30-minute workout.
  • Other studies have found laughter may boost the immune system and reduce potentially damaging inflammation in the body.

Need a Little Help to Get Laughing?

If you’re feeling blue and find it difficult to get laughing, you can ditch your negative emotions with The Sedona Method. It’s a simple way to free yourself of stressful feelings (the Method shows you how to let them go, once and for all) and gain a positive mental attitude instead.

And, get ready to laugh right now with these two clever jokes!

Joke 1: The Difference a Little Punctuation Makes

The words in these two letters are identical but the punctuation sure changes everything!

Dear John:

I want a man who knows what love is all about. You are generous, kind, thoughtful. People who are not like you admit to being useless and inferior. You have ruined me for other men. I yearn for you. I have no feelings whatsoever when we’re apart. I can be forever happy – will you let me be yours?

Gloria

Dear John:

I want a man who knows what love is. All about you are generous, kind, thoughtful people, who are not like you. Admit to being useless and inferior. You have ruined me. For other men, I yearn. For you, I have no feelings whatsoever. When we’re apart, I can be forever happy. Will you let me be?

Yours,

Gloria

Joke 2: Time Gets Better With Age

I’ve learned that I like my teacher because she cries when we sing “Silent Night.”

Age 5

I’ve learned that our dog doesn’t want to eat my broccoli either.

Age 7

I’ve learned that when I wave to people in the country, they stop what they are doing and wave back.

Age 9

I’ve learned that just when I get my room the way I like it, Mom makes me clean it up again.

Age 12

I’ve learned that if you want to cheer yourself up, you should try cheering someone else up.

Age 14

I’ve learned that although it’s hard to admit it, I’m secretly glad my parents are strict with me.

Age 15

I’ve learned that silent company is often more healing than words of advice.

Age 24

I’ve learned that brushing my child’s hair is one of life’s great pleasures.

Age 26

I’ve learned that wherever I go, the world’s worst drivers have followed me there.

Age 29

I’ve learned that if someone says something unkind about me, I must live so that no one will believe it.

Age 30

I’ve learned that there are people who love you dearly but just don’t know how to show it.

Age 42

I’ve learned that you can make some one’s day by simply sending them a little note.

Age 44

I’ve learned that the greater a person’s sense of guilt, the greater his or her need to cast blame on others.

Age 46

I’ve learned that children and grandparents are natural allies.

Age 47

I’ve learned that no matter what happens, or how bad it seems today, life does go on, and it will be better tomorrow.

Age 48

I’ve learned that singing “Amazing Grace” can lift my spirits for hours.

Age 49

I’ve learned that motel mattresses are better on the side away from the phone.

Age 50

I’ve learned that you can tell a lot about a man by the way he handles these three things: a rainy day, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights.

Age 51

I’ve learned that keeping a vegetable garden is worth a medicine cabinet full of pills.

Age 52

I’ve learned that regardless of your relationship with your parents, you miss them terribly after they die.

Age 53

I’ve learned that making a living is not the same thing as making a life.

Age 58

I’ve learned that if you want to do something positive for your children, work to improve your marriage.

Age 61

I’ve learned that life sometimes gives you a second chance.

Age 62

I’ve learned that you shouldn’t go through life with a catchers mitt on both hands. You need to be able to throw something back.

Age 64

I’ve learned that if you pursue happiness, it will elude you. But if you focus on your family, the needs of others, your work, meeting new people, and doing the very best you can, happiness will find you.

Age 65

I’ve learned that whenever I decide something with kindness, I usually make the right decision.

Age 66

I’ve learned that everyone can use a prayer.

Age 72

I’ve learned that even when I have pains, I don’t have to be one.

Age 82

I’ve learned that every day you should reach out and touch someone. People love that human touch — holding hands, a warm hug, or just a friendly pat on the back.

Age 90

 

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