One of the most effective medicines is becoming less available in the world. This formula for curing many of today’s illnesses such as depression, cancer and other potentially debilitating diseases has been around for a millennium and, most recently, has become a valued, yet limited, approach to healing. You may be wondering what powerful drug your doctor has never prescribed to you – laughter.
As a child, we implement this powerful anti-stress medication approximately 300 times a day according to Psychology Today. The average 40-year-old laughs on average 4 times per day. These statistics may be urban legend, but the outcomes speak for themselves. We are more happy, excited about life and healthier as a child that laughs a substantial number of times each day.
In an April 24, 2020, article on VeryWellMind.com by Elizabeth Scott, PhD, the many benefits of laughter were evaluated. One of the most important outcomes from laughing is the lowering of stress hormones, such as cortisol, epinephrine, dopamine and growth hormone. Another finding was the number of antibody-producing cells increased in test subjects that laughed more per day than the group of individuals who did not.
What if you could become more physically fit simply by laughing? “A hearty laugh exercises the diaphragm, contracts the abs, and even works the shoulders, leaving the muscles more relaxed afterward,” according to the author. I am not saying you can eat all the carbs and fats that you wish and only laugh the pounds away, but it would not hurt for you to laugh, even at yourself, during the actual lifting of weights or running.
One of the most humorous stories of my life comes to mind. I was signed up to run a 5-K race for the first time. After running and working out for about 8 weeks, I was ready for the big day. Standing at the start line looking like a typical non-runner, bib fastened to my sweat-wicking running shirt, feet adorned with special running shoes for people of my talent and size (that’s what the skinny running salesman said at the store) and special running shorts that were longer than normal to hide the fact that I have not had any sun on my legs in a while, I faced the course with a determined look.
A few minutes before the starting pistol was to sound, a large woman with a clipboard comes over to me. She had a look in her eye like a TSA Agent finding something on my person while standing outside the body scanner. I will never forget her greeting – “Hi! This must be your first race.” I agreed with a proud smile on my face knowing that I had prepared and was mentally ready to take on the challenge before me. Her next statement, although funny today, was not so encouraging at the time. “You need to move to the back of the race pack.” I looked at her puzzled as to why she would make such a statement. I asked, “Do we start in bid number order or something?” She laughed aloud and replied, “No. Look behind you and you will see a man that will run up your back in the first twenty yards of the race.” Her quip was acknowledged as I turned and saw one of the runners that inherited the genes of the long-distance Grecians who ran from city-to-city without sweating or breathing hard.
As I gingerly walked to the back of the pack, a little dejected but also unable to contain the laughter of receiving advice about running from someone who obviously has never run a race in her life. After completing the course, within 31 minutes, I took my medal and walked over to the clipboard lady and said, “Thanks for the advice. I lost track of “Mercury” or whatever his name was after the first five minutes.”
Look for opportunities to improve your mental and physical health by simply laughing whether at yourself or circumstances you may find yourself. It is a non-lethal way you can improve your day without hurting your body.
Your longevity in life is determined by how much you laugh. Well, this is my hypothesis and I intend on living to be 124! I always seek opportunities to help people laugh when they are stressed, and it is an appropriate moment in time.
Your lifetime of financial security for your family is no laughing matter. To alleviate the stress from worrying about your finances, seek out a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNERTM professional to help you build confidence in your future so you can laugh all the way to retirement and beyond.