The Healing Power of a Good Laugh

The Healing Power of a Good Laugh

The Healing Power of a Good LaughAlisa Foreman, MA, MFT, Director of Outpatient Services at OPI, explains why genuine, prolonged laughter doesn’t just make us feel better in the moment, but also helps to heal our bodies and psyches.

Think back to a time where you had a good laugh. I don’t just mean a quick “ha-ha” laugh, I mean a “can’t-catch-your-breath, tears-rolling-down-your-face, pee-in-your-pants” kind of belly laugh. How good did that feel? Didn’t you find it nearly impossible to feel sad, stressed, angry or anxious in that moment?

Wouldn’t it be great if we could laugh off our mistakes or imperfections instead of internalizing them and letting them define us? Nowadays, it seems like people take life too seriously and spend more time complaining, gossiping and feeling sorry for themselves rather than simply finding something funny to laugh about. Wouldn’t the world be a better place overall if people just laughed more often?

As it turns out, not only is laughing good for our emotional well-being, through the release of endorphins and relief of stress, studies have also linked laughter to boosting the immune system and increasing blood flow, which may lower the risk of heart problems.

Basically, a spirited laugh “does a body good.”

Did you know that there are even worldwide Laughter Clubs all over the world devoted to the healing power of laughing? Laughter Yoga was first developed in 1995 by Indian physician Dr. Madan Kataria, who, surprisingly, found that our bodies cannot differentiate between pretend and genuine laughter—both produce the same “happy chemistry.” Today, this method promotes well-being for people around the globe dealing with grief, depression, stress, cancer, diabetes and more.

Laughter also connects us to one another and creates a shared moment between two or more people. Some of the best social interactions revolve around laughing. In working with clients with various emotional and development issues, I find humor and laughter to be a very healing part of the therapeutic process.

Have you laughed yet today?

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