In this week we will focus on “soul food” and learn how to reap the health benefits of laughter. Lift your happiness with a simple approach and bring your body and mind back into balance.
Most of you have probably heard through different channels how powerful laughing is. Nothing works faster to bring your body and mind back into balance than a good giggle. Charlie Chaplin summed it up when he once said:
A day without laughter is a day wasted.
Interesting facts about this important life habit
With a sense of humor, everything seems to go easier – even our 52-week healthy eating habits challenge. If you can laugh heartily, then you have a tremendous resource.
You are not only doing something good for yourself – you can cause a domino effect of joy and amusement. Your ability to laugh easily binds people together, surmounts problems and increases intimacy and happiness.
Nothing is as contagious as hearing hearty laughter or seeing laughing faces. But – at some point, while growing up, we become more serious and lose the ability to laugh. And this is really a shame.
The benefits of laughing are often underestimated, and yet it reaches many areas of our life.
A convenient tip for weight management
Laughter gives your body a “mini aerobic workout.” Did you know that it can increase your heart rate by up to 20 percent? Hearty laughter for ten minutes can burn 50 calories. This is equivalent to several minutes on an exercise bike. But, even after you have stopped laughing, you will burn more calories at rest as this “funny” exercise increases your metabolism.
On top of that, you reap the benefits of a great workout for your abdominal, diaphragm, respiratory, leg, back, and facial muscles.
The healing power of laughter
Did you know that Gelotology is a special research area that is dealing with the benefits of laughter and its effects? Humor and laughter is more important to one's recovery than people might realize. When you laugh heartily, many healing chemicals are released.
Humor therapy in hospitals
More and more hospitals are using laughter therapy successfully to boost the immune system and speed up the recovery of their patients. Specially educated clowns bring laughter and joy to the hospital to release endorphins, ease tensions and offer relief. A pioneer in this kind of creative health care was the American doctor Patch Adams.
How often do you laugh?
Do you know how often you laugh per day? Just take a guess!
Many numbers are thrown around. I’ve heard that an adult in the US laughs four times a day, whereas average four-year-old laughs 300 times a day. No matter if those numbers are correct or not, the point is that a child’s laugh quota is much higher than that of adults.
These statistics come in spite of the fact that most adults suspect that laughter makes them healthier, safer, and friendlier. It seems that laughter should be a spontaneous act, but, for many of us, laughter does not come easily.
Do something about it!
Of course, the goal of this challenge can’t be to make you laugh all the time. Other emotions have the right to exist too. But most of us could laugh more often. A chuckle at the right time can help us out of a poor mood, reduces stress and possibly even make our day.
Most of us forget one simple fact: Even when we don't feel happy, we can still laugh and feel good or better.
3-step habit change: force a few giggles
Often times, you need sort of a jumpstart to get in the mood for giggling. Even simply forcing yourself to chuckle can get you started on a healthy laughing exercise.
Step 1: Use moments when you are totally frustrated as a trigger, like when your mind is fixed on an annoying thought or you are stuck in traffic.
Step 2: Recall something you found very amusing in the past. It could even be a funny movie. Think about it to help stimulate the giggles. Move on even if you don’t find something especially funny to laugh at.
Step 3: Try forcing yourself to laugh a few times as realistically as you can for one minute.
If this doesn’t work, begin with three short “ha” sounds and do a few sessions of forced laughs for a kickstart. You'll be amazed at how quickly forced laughs can switch into realistic giggles and make you feel better.
Extra-tip for “Laughing Grumps”
Take a thin pencil horizontally between your teeth. (Carefully push it far into each corner of your mouth.) Alone the thought of it makes me grin:)
Studies by psychologists have found that we smile automatically by doing so – and this is important. By forcing a smile, we immediately feel a bit better instead of brooding over a problem with a sad or grim facial expression.
Let me know what you think about this laughing challenge. If you have any questions, leave them in the comment section below.
Laugh out loud to lift your fitness and happiness
Take it to the next level and learn nine strategies to reap the benefits of laughter: laughing is the best medicine.