Did you laugh along with that sweet baby? If so, then you increased your oxygen flow to your brain, released endorphins (the “feel good” chemical in your brain), lowered your blood pressure, given your diaphragm & abdominal muscles a workout, reduced stress hormones such as cortisol which, in turn, improves your immune system and improved your memory. Basically your entire brain went into action. Melissa Breyer wrote an article on the benefits of laughter and she explained what your brain goes through when you laugh. She said “Humor works quickly. Less than a half-second after exposure to something funny, and electrical wave moves through the higher brain functions of the cerebral cortex. The left hemisphere analyzes the words and structures of the joke; the right hemisphere “gets” the joke; the visual sensory area of the occipital lobe creates images; the limbic (emotional) system makes you happier; and the motor sections make you smile or laugh.”
Who knew? Right? Studies have shown that you burn 1.3 calories for every minute that you laugh. If you are like me you need all the help you can get burning those calories. So far this sounds like the most fun way to burn burn burn!
What a way to reduce stress and boost your mood. I have learned in my fight with depression that humor really is the most effective medicine. The Bible says in Proverbs 17:22 (God’s Word Translation) “A joyful heart is good medicine, but depression drains one’s strength.” Ain’t that the truth? When I am feeling depressed I have found that watching a funny movie or TV show does so much more for me than even Xanax at times. It releases those endrophins and I feel better. The benefit of this plan seems to last longer than the Xanax at times. Not only does it make me feel better mentally but it helps to distract me and quite often leads me to do something else, which takes my mind off of focusing on the depression.
Endorphins are our natural pain killers that have been proven to be more powerful than morphine in some studies. Now that is some serious power. I have noticed at various times when doing some things that release endorphins my pain has subsided. What a wonderful feeling to be able to control your pain for that moment in time naturally.
So practice some laughter therapy and take control of your emotional and physical health for a bit. Pop a joke instead of a pill.