The Added Value of Laughter

How do you feel after a hearty laugh with that especially funny person in your life? Good or even better than good? Let’s hope so. Particularly given today’s avalanche of negativity found on social media, radio, television, and with in-person interactions, you can always lighten up your day and improve your mood with laughter.

But why is laughter so important? And, how can it be your best medicine ever?

According to experts, laughter is the perfect antidote to relieve the stresses and strains of life. It can help you both physically and mentally by bringing your mind, body, and spirit back into harmony and balance. Laughter costs you nothing and includes no adverse side effects along the way.

Laughter has been linked to:

  1. Relaxing your body by relieving physical tension and stress.
  2. Strengthening your immune system by decreasing stress hormones and bolstering your infection-fighting antibodies.
  3. Promoting an overall sense of well-being by triggering the release of endorphins, a chemical that naturally alleviates pain and makes you feel more relaxed, and full of energy.
  4. Protecting your heart against cardiovascular problems, including heart failure, by increasing the blood flow and improving the function of your heart.
  5. Alleviating distressing emotions by converting them into ones of pleasure and joy. Take note…you will never feel anxious, depressed, or angry while you are laughing.

To bring more laughter into your life, start by…

  1. Smiling more at home and work.
  2. Counting the many blessings in your life.
  3. Seeking out people who make you laugh.
  4. Cultivating your own sense of humor.
  5. Avoiding sources that habitually focus on negative messaging.

To continue your efforts, search out other strategies that will bring more laughter into your day.

Written by: Patricia K. Flanigan, Smart Strategies for Successful Living

Patricia K. Flanigan has worked in higher education for over 28 years. She holds a doctoral degree in Organizational Leadership from the University of La Verne as well as a M.A.  in Latin American Studies and B.A. in Anthropology from the University of California, Los Angeles. Before retiring and moving to Idaho in 2015, she served as the dean of online education and learning resources at Saddleback College, a large community college in Southern California. She currently consults in higher education, volunteers for AARP, writes for a local magazine, and serves as an Affiliate Faculty member at Boise State University  and on the Board for LEARN Idaho.  Since February 2017, she has been the founding director for Smart Strategies for Successful Living, a community-based website designed to promote quality aging.  As an educator, her focus is to inspire others to live and age well.