Laughter is No Laughing Matter for Families
Laughter is an amazing medicine. This is not new information. In fact, one ancient Hebrew proverb states that “a cheerful heart is good medicine…” (Proverbs 17:22). Laughter is like medicine, not only to the soul but to the whole person. Consider these “medicinal benefits” of laughter:
- Laughter decreases the secretion of stress hormones in the body while increasing the release of natural “feel good” hormones like endorphins (the same hormone responsible for the “runner’s high”).
- Laughter stimulates the immune system, building our resistance to illness.
- Laughter decreases the risk of heart attacks and strokes. It expands the blood vessels to allow greater flow of blood (along with the oxygen and nutrients it brings) through the body. At the same time, laughter decreases blood pressure in the long run.
- Laughter stimulates the release of natural painkillers in the body.
- Laughter stimulates the release of “hormones and neuropeptides” (like dopamine, oxytocin, and endorphins) related to feelings of happiness, bonding, tolerance, generosity, compassion, and unconditional love.
- Laughter breaks down relational barriers and increases intimacy. Studies show that men and women who laugh together are more attracted to one another.
- Laughter keeps relationships fresh.
- Laughter empties the lungs of “residual air” so we can inhale higher levels of oxygen. Oxygen coursing through our body retards aging, relieves headaches, and boosts our immune system among other things.
- “Laughing creates a total body response that is clinically beneficial. It exercises the facial, chest, abdominal, and skeletal muscles and improves their tone…” –Professor A. Berk of Johns Hopkins University.
- PS—You can read about these and more benefits of laughter at the Laughter Wellness Institute. Check it out and enjoy a laugh. http://laughterwellness.org/
We all want our family to experience optimal physical, emotional, relational, and spiritual health. Without laughter, your family’s health is missing an important ingredient. So, find ways to bring laughter into your family life as often as you can. After all, the benefits of laughter for your family are no laughing matter.