EAP Matters

LAUGHTER REALLY CAN BE THE BEST MEDICINE

Laughter is an instant vacation.

Milton Berle

 

How long has it been since you have had a good belly-laugh?  Healthy laughter seems to be a treasure that is in short supply.  Some studies have indicated that children laugh up to 300 times a day, while the majority of adults laugh less than 20 times a day! 

 

Why is laughter so important?

 

Laughter can be healing. 

Laughter is found to lower blood pressure, reduce stress hormones and boost immune function.  Laughter triggers the release of endorphins, the body’s natural painkillers, and produces a general sense of well-being.  A recent study found that people with heart disease were 40% less likely to laugh in a variety of situations compared to people of the same age without heart disease. 

Laughter increases memory retention and creativity in problem-solving. 

Hearty laughter stimulates the right and left side of the brain by increasing oxygen flow to the brain.  With more oxygen, we have high levels of brain processing which results in more creativity and better problem-solving.

Laughter is good exercise.

Laughing 100 times is equal to spending 10 minutes on a rowing machine or 15 minutes on a stationary bike.

Laughter and humor help you stay emotionally healthy.
Even in the most difficult of times, a laugh, or even simply a smile, can go a long way toward making you feel better.  Humor can shift your perspective, allowing you to see situations in a more realistic, less threatening light. 

Mutual laughter and play are an essential component of strong, healthy relationships.

Shared laughter is one of the most effective tools for keeping relationships fresh and exciting.  When we laugh with one another, a positive bond is created and we can feel freer to be more vulnerable in expressing other emotions. 

 

The ability to laugh, play and have fun with others can be learned at whatever age you are.

Here are some ways to start:

·         Count your blessings.  The simple act of considering the good things in your life will distance you from negative thoughts that are a barrier to humor and laughter. 

·         Spend time with fun, playful people.  These are the people who laugh easily – both at themselves and at life’s absurdities.  Their playful point of view and laughter can be contagious.

·         Don’t take yourself so seriously.  Laugh at yourself.   Share your embarrassing moments.  The best way to take ourselves less seriously is talk about times when we took ourselves too seriously. 

·         Keep things in perspective.  Many things in life are beyond your control, particularly, the behavior of other people. 

·         Make time for fun activities.  Be silly, play a game or watch a funny movie or TV show. 

 

If life stressors are preventing you from laughing as much as you would like, please consider contacting your Employee Assistance Program at (402) 398-5566 or (888) 847-4975.