When was the last time that you had a good laugh? Much of our lives are monotonous. They have a set routine; the same old 9 to 5. In this lifestyle we regard stress as very natural. Though our work may consume most of our time, it is all in the pursuit of happiness. True happiness and satisfaction is an internal matter. Even though the outer disposition of a person may not reflect their inner emotions, the mind is always striving for peace and tranquility.
Laughter is the external expression of the inner delight that we all experience at times, hopefully more than less! Life is so much more beautiful when the inner world is in harmony with the outer world. Laughter is not coincidental , it is brought on by our perception of the world and ourselves. It is something that gives us a sense of complete freedom and joy. We get this when we our independent of external factors and their effects.We have all seen how naturally little children laugh. It is a second nature to them because it is our intrinsic quality that we have been graced with from day one. As we grow older and become more conscious, we move away from our innate self, adapt the norms of the world, and at times suppress our true sentiments. This, of course, is called growing up and behaving maturely, but we all know that we are kids at heart. Therefore, it is necessary to express that feeling on a daily basis in the form of smiles, and laughter. This is food for the soul and body! Your body will thank you for this, since it has innumerable benefits. We will talk a little bit about the great effects of a good laugh on our health in this article.
a. Laughter has a calming effect. Laughter relieves muscle tension and therefore relaxes you. Did you know that it takes only 17 muscles to smile versus 43 to frown? When muscles relax, you feel less drained physically, and fresh.
b. Boost your immunity with a good laugh! Laughter reduces stress by decreasing stress hormones, as well as increasing the release of infection-fighting antibodies.
c. Reduce pain with laughter. You can relieve two hours of pain with a good ten minutes of laughter, studies have shown.
d. Better your imagination and creativity. As your perception of the world becomes more positive, you are able to make better decisions, leading to creative problem solving.
e. Mental benefits of laughing:
• Improved outlook on life (i.e. more positive)
• Ability to cope with life’s ups and downs
• Reduce daily stresses without the feeling of drowning in them
f. Laughter leads to bonding. We all have experienced walking in a room of people laughing and we cannot but help to join in. It is a natural response to participate spontaneously in laughter in group settings as it is contagious. This is excellent for bonding in individual relationships, or in groups. We often use humor to “break the ice” also. Humor is welcome by everyone. Humor is a great tool for defusing anger and negative emotions. In fact, it usually helps us form a deeper connection with others. That’s why children attract people towards them, because happiness likes company also!!! So, enjoy a heartfelt laugh every day for some reason or the other.
g. Laughter invigorates the body. A good laugh soothes tensions, and stimulates all your organs! This obviously then relieves stress.
h. Laughing helps you lose weight. Ten to fifteen minutes of daily laughter can help you burn roughly 50 more calories per day. Not to be used in place of physical activity of course, this is an added benefit of laughing.
Our perception of the external circumstances and problems is changed with a more optimistic outlook. We attract in our lives what we feel and think. Our mind functions better and new ideas flourish in a relaxed and satisfied state of being. Boredom becomes a thing of the past when life is interesting. Life doesn’t just happen instead it is made with our own efforts. Remember that life throws circumstances at us, but our mind interprets them, so control your mind with a strong intellect. Laughter is truly a medicine that works at various levels of the body. Laughter shouldn’t be a chore, but should act as a natural stress reliever. Face your life’s challenges with a steadfast mind, which will lead to a natural state of happiness always. Keeping faith and practicing spirituality also leads to a native state of cheerfulness. So laugh and spread the laughter to others!
Contact Jagadguru Kripalu Yoga and Naturopathy Hospital for lifestyle consultation.
by Pragya Sinha