Why Laughter Is the Best Medicine
“Laughter is the best medicine” is an adage we’ve all heard before, probably countless times. Most of us have likely said it a time or two, as well. Whether we are encouraging our kids to laugh off scrapes and bruises, reminding moody teenagers that it’s okay to laugh at themselves once in awhile, or getting together with family after a tragedy and laughing about good memories of happier times, laughter has a mysterious and wonderful power to heal.
As we age, it is vital to always remember the importance of laughter. You can outgrow a lot of things over the course of your life, but laughter is not one of them. Being able to laugh with others and share that kind of connection gives us a feeling of purpose, community, shared experience, hope, joy, and love. All these things are valuable when we are young, and they only become more precious as we get older. It is fundamental to long-term health and overall quality of life to continue finding reasons and occasions to laugh.
Laughing hard with friends or family is something that simply feels good. However, it also delivers numerous scientifically-proven health benefits that are especially important for seniors. Laughing boosts endorphin levels, which affect mood and can even serve as a natural painkiller. Laughter helps lower blood pressure and cholesterol—helping with circulation and working to prevent heart disease, among other advantages. Laughing helps eliminate the feeling of isolation that seniors sometimes feel, and also drastically reduces anxiety, stress, and even depression. Laughter even gives the abdominal muscles a bit of a workout!
Make a point to laugh every day, at least once. Spend time with friends and family members that appreciate your sense of humor. Tell jokes. Recall funny stories. Be willing to laugh at yourself and make fun of your own mistakes. Read a funny book. Pull up a silly video on YouTube. Be intentional about making other people laugh and don’t be afraid to lose yourself in laughter. After all, laughter may not be a universal cure for all the world’s ills, but it will absolutely make a difference in your day-to-day life.