Monday, August 15, 2011

Laughing Increases our Health

It has been said that laughing each day keeps the doctor away. This may, in fact, have some truth to it. Laughter has a very positive impact on our wellness. Laughing increases our immune system and strengthens our bodies’ defenses against invading germs and bacteria. People who laugh experience less sickness and colds, or if they do get sick, it is for a shorter duration. Several years ago I wrote an article on laughter. I had done some research on the benefits of laughter after seeing a news story showing laughter yoga. Shortly after that, I attended a workshop and one of the exercises was evoking laughter through structured exercises. I decided to try one of the exercises at our weekly staff meeting with our personnel. The exercise wasn’t anything too difficult. It just involved starting out with the verbalizations, “Hee, hee, hee, ha, ha, ha”. I still remember the blank stares of my colleagues as I began the exercise. Of course, I have to admit that just the idea of doing this strange exercise in front of the staff did make me giggle a bit as I know it must have been quite a scene. Hesitant, but determined, I proceeded forward and continued on with the, “Ha, ha, ha”. The information and my experience at the workshop indicated that just starting the exercise would evoke laughter and it seemed to work as I was in stitches as I proceeded. Of course, the stares of disbelief and the thoughts about what the staff was watching helped promote more laughter, both within me and them. Yes, I guess I did look a bit silly and the more I thought about it, the more I laughed. Very soon after starting the exercise, everyone in the room was embracing a belly laugh as we rolled in laughter. Before it was done, I was crying because I was laughing so hard – as were the others. The whole episode is now a touchstone to bring in another belly laugh as we reminisce the scene over again. Create a belly laugh touchstone for your memory. Today, as  you hang out at the water cooler, start off with the “Ha, ha, ha, hee, hee, hee”. You will be surprised how it takes very little to get you laughing and then the contagious moments have begun as you can bet there will be others either laughing with you or at you, but all the same laughing. And when you are done, go into some mindfulness to become aware of how your body, mind, and soul feels. Have a joyful week.

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