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Laugh Even When You Donít Want To

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Laugh Even When You Donít Want To

By Marlo Sollitto, AgingCare.com contributing editor

For family caregivers, the mountains of laundry, the endless messes that need cleaned up, the rushing to doctor’s appointments, the complete surrender of one’s personal life and the painful process of watching a loved one’s decline is no laughing matter. You may feel like crying more often than you feel like laughing.

How to Stop Being So Hard On Yourself

But many experts say that laughing in even the grimmest situations is good for you, both mentally and physically. Laughter releases stress, strengthens the immune system, improves sleep, diffuses tension, reduces pain and boosts “happy chemistry.” Laughter is the nemesis of tension; you can’t hold on to tension when you laugh.

The Science of Laughter: Nothing to Joke About

Numerous scientific studies suggest that laughter is a powerful form of complementary therapeutic medicine:

  • Blood flow. Laughter causes the tissue that forms the inner lining of blood vessels to dilate or expand in order to increase blood flow. (University of Maryland School of Medicine)
  • Immune response. Humor raises the level of infection-fighting antibodies and immune cells. (Robert Provine, professor of psychology, author of Laughter: A Scientific Investigation)
  • Blood pressure. Laughter lowers blood pressure just as much as cutting salt. (Osaka University Graduate School of Medicine)
  • Pain relief. Ten minutes of laughing can allow up to two hours of pain relief. In a study of patients in a rehabilitation center, 74% agreed with the statement, “sometimes, laughter works as well as a pain pill.” (New England Journal of Medicine)
  • Aerobic exercise. One minute of laughter is equal to 10-minutes on the rowing machine. (Dr. William Fry, Stanford University)

Related:
Finding and Maintaining Your Personal Space
Why Helping Others May Make You Happier
Relaxing: Why Itís Hard, and How You Can Learn to Unwind

LOL: Why You Should Laugh Even When You Donít Feel Like It originally appeared on AgingCare.com

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60 comments

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10:29AM PDT on Mar 27, 2012

Thank You! :)

7:56AM PDT on Oct 16, 2011

Indeed, laughter is the best medicine- but I found it hard to fake laughter alone when I was taking care of my dying husband. But, I do laugh with family and friends over the silliest stuff, I watch tv shows that make me laugh, not cry.

5:36PM PDT on Sep 23, 2011

I sometimes laugh for no reason.. ..Well it appears that way, but it's not. Nor am I a grinning idiot. I just have my own inner dialogue going on. Sometimes people think I am laughing at them and get very offended, ..enough to attack me even. I have been advised to cut down on the laughing for my health by my local hospital. Which I promise to do and will do, whenever they release me depending on the results of the psychological tests. Laughter may be the best medicine for some. But I have never been as worse off than I am now since rediscovering it. I am fighting a constant battle and only now truly realise the truth in that saying. "Too much of a good thing is bad for you". So from now on I am going to be in total misery. Maybe that will make me happy.

10:27AM PDT on Sep 23, 2011

Sound advice, sometimes we are our hardest judges in life. A good laugh can be the perfect remedy to cut the edge in a given situation.

7:28AM PDT on Sep 23, 2011

I laugh at myself and with other people more than ever because I feel so much lighter and I do not even want to be around myself when my "gloomy Gladys" face comes to visit...

4:06AM PDT on Sep 23, 2011

It works.

11:26PM PDT on Sep 22, 2011

This article makes me want to laugh-so I did! Favorited, Thanks!

12:28PM PDT on Sep 22, 2011

When i was in Mumbai last, I saw Senior Citizens meet in parks and when I asked what they were laughing at, i was told laughing is good for everyone and they love their laughing sessions. Thank you

10:42AM PDT on Sep 22, 2011

thanks

8:41AM PDT on Sep 22, 2011

LOL.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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