“The most wasted of all days is one without laughter” – E.E. Cummings

I was riding in the car with my husband this weekend, and a thought stuck me that caused me to laugh out loud. The more I thought about it, the more I laughed, until I had tears running down my cheeks, and my head thrown back in a full on belly laugh. Then I could hear my husband, who had no idea what I was laughing about begin to chuckle and smile just at the sight and sound of my laughter.

Authors Melinda Smith, M.A. and Jeanne Segal, Ph.D. in their article on HelpGuide.org write about laughter as the best medicine.

“The sound of roaring laughter is far more contagious than any cough, sniffle, or sneeze… it binds people together and increases happiness and intimacy. Laughter also triggers healthy physical changes in the body. Humor and laughter strengthen your immune system, boost your energy, diminish pain, and protect you from the damaging effects of stress. Best of all, this priceless medicine is fun, free and easy to use.”

Growing up in Illinois, and sharing a double bed with my sisters, we would often get to giggling after bedtime. My father would shout from downstairs, “You girls better quiet down and get to sleep… don’t make me come up there!” And we would giggle all the more, uncontrollably and no matter how hard we tried, we couldn’t stop it until we were all gasping for air, holding our stomachs and getting louder and louder.

Ever Laugh So Hard You Felt Exhausted?

R. Morgan Griffin shares in his article Give Your Body a Boost – With Laughter on WebMD, “We change physiologically when we laugh. We stretch muscles throughout our face and body, our pulse and blood pressure go up, and we breathe faster, sending more oxygen to our tissues. People who believe in the benefits of laughter say it can be like a mild workout…”

“Laughter is inner jogging.” – Norman Cousins

What Are the Benefits of Laughter?

Physical Health Benefits
  • Boosts immunity
  • Lowers stress hormones
  • Decreases pain
  • Relaxes muscles
  • Prevents heart disease
Mental Health Benefits
  • Adds joy and zest to life
  • Eases anxiety and fear
  • Relieves stress
  • Improves mood
  • Enhances resilience
Social Benefits
  • Strengthens relationships
  • Attracts others to us
  • Enhances teamwork
  • Helps defuse conflict
  • Promotes group bonding
Ecclesiastes 3:4 “a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;” – Solomon, the wisest man that ever lived, wrote this passage on the various seasons that we all face in life. He reminds us that there is a time for everything, including a time to laugh and rejoice.

For those of you with more serious natures, here are a few recommendations to bring more laughter into your lives:
  • Be willing to laugh at yourself
  • Look for the humor in situations
  • Find ways to play and have fun
  • Keep things in perspective
  • Surround yourself with humor
“Laughter and joy are part of the beauty of life.” – Diogo Morgado

On more than one occasion, I have been in those ridiculous belly laughs at work. We were under a great deal of stress, focused on impossible deadlines with limited resources. The magic of this infections ability to laugh not only brought smiles to our faces, we were able to look on the lighter side of the issues and get the job done.

Perhaps the old saying should be, “a laugh a day will keep the doctor away.”