The Healing Power of Laughter
There have been numerous studies that evaluate the healing properties of laughter. Did you know that laughter can reduce cortisol levels, decrease anxiety, lighten depression and increase our tolerance for pain? In 1971, Dr. Hunter Campbell opened a free hospital where thousands of patients received humor based care for a period of twelve years. The hospital evolved into the Gesundheit Institute, a non-profit health care organization which offers humanitarian clowning trips to hospitals, orphanages, refugee camps and prisons. To learn more about Dr. Campbell and his work go to www.patchadams.org.
Laughter yoga is based on the belief that voluntary laughter provides the same physiological and psychological benefits as spontaneous laughter. There is scientific evidence that proves that laughter has been shown to reduce blood pressure, boost the immune system, decrease weight gain and memory loss. It also increases endorphins, which lowers pain throughout the body and creates a feeling of bliss!
So how do we incorporate more laughter into our lives? Look for the humor in challenging situations, get together with co-workers and friends and create a time to share comical stories. Take a laughter yoga class. whatever you do, find a way to incorporate humor and laughter into your day.
I would like to thank two of my co-workers, Kimberly Pews and Dana Leavitt for the inspiration for this blog. We spontaneously met in the hallway yesterday and shared some stories from our own personal journeys that made us laugh so hard that we were crying. Laughter is bliss, we all need a little more bliss!
Written by: Marlene Dickinson
Director of Wellness/Holistic Wellness Coach