Good LIVES MAGAZINE
“You can’t deny laughter; when it comes, it plops down in your FAVOURITE chair and stays as long as it wants.” – Stephen King
As the saying goes, laughter is the best medicine. But did you know that there is real scientific evidence to back up this claim? While we’ve all experienced the lift in mood that can come from an unbridled bout of laughter (even when it feels like we can’t breathe and tears are streaming down our face!), there are other physical and emotional responses that make indulging in a good old belly laugh a must for our health and wellbeing.
Back in the 1930s, Dr William F Fry put a name to the health benefits of laughter – he called it ‘gelotology’ and claimed that laughing improved breathing and circulation. Several studies later have confirmed that laughter: • • • • • •
Reduces stress Alleviates pain Reduces blood pressure Improves immunity Improves overall wellbeing Improves our sense of connectedness to others.
Need a bit more laughter in your life? 1
Spend time with funny people
Take in some local comedy
Post a picture of yourself laughing where you can see it every day
Keep a joke file and share jokes with others to brighten their day and yours Find the humour in something serious.
As babies and children, smiling and laughter are some of our earliest and most important forms of communication, but as we get older and the demands of life take over, we smile and laugh less often. This has led to the rise of ‘organised’ laughter groups to help us get back in touch with our funny bone! Search for ‘laugher clubs’ online to find one near you and see the tips below on how to get more laughter in your life.
Did you know?
The Humour Foundation is a charity dedicated to promoting and delivering the health benefits of humour. They offer a range of programs designed to engage sick children and their families, and older people living in residential aged care homes. humourfoundation.org.au