Laughter heals!

Laughter heals


As a doctor of behavioral maladies, one of the most important treatments in managing depression of which I am totally convinced is laughter. To me, the gift of a genuine sense of humor which is laughter is one of the best antidotes to stress.

I do not know who said it but someone has beautifully expressed this saying: “Laugh and the world laughs with you. Weep and you weep alone.” I cannot forget this passage for it is really true!

In the stand point of physiology, hearty laughing reduces muscle tension. This is definitely good for it relieves one’s bodily aches and pains. Why? The more you laugh, the more endorphins would be released (a natural chemical released in the body to ease pain). Hence, the more endorphins released, the more relief you will feel. Physiologists claim that five minutes laughter is equivalent to one hour exercise. Can you believe that? Scientists have proven that when you laugh, you burn some calories. Experts actually put people into functional MRI machines and make them laugh in order to find out the results. While their brains were monitored by an MRI, they were able to prove for the first time that laughter (or at least humor) stimulates the parts of the brain that use the “feel good” chemical messenger called “dopamine”. Dopamine that gets out of control can lead to addiction, says Dr. Gregory Berns, a neurologist of Atlanta Emory University. This finding explains why kids want to do silly things over and over again until their parents can’t stand it anymore. Laughter is pleasurable perhaps even “addictive” to the brain.

More on the medical point of view, studies have shown that tears of joy and sadness may reduce symptoms of stress. After a hearty laughing episode, the saliva of patients has higher levels of disease-fighting agents called immunoglubulins which also raise our immune function. When we laugh, our lungs are exchanging much more air than normal, hence, they enrich the blood with oxygen. Another benefit is that laughter helps diabetics keep their glucose levels in check. Yet another significant function is that laughter has an analgesic effect. It increases our tolerance of pain. Authorities confirm that laughter is a subtle form of exercise. Researchers say that laughter is “an inner jogging”. Good news! Now a Japanese scientist, Kazuo Murakami, is unlocking the therapeutic secrets of laughter which he believes can cheer up people’s genes and help cure diseases.

If we set a little time each day to laugh with somebody, perhaps we can rid the world of its ills.


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