Humour can play such an important role in your happiness and wellbeing and it can also improve your health. Laughter is a strong medicine that can really benefit your health in many ways which you may not even realise.
Laughter can strengthen your immune system, boost your mood, help to diminish pain, and protect you from the damaging effects of stress. Humour can lighten your load, inspire hope and it helps us to connect with each other, drawing people together and creating healthy physical and emotional changes in the body.
At Sunlight Care Services we always aim to brighten every day for each of our clients by enhancing our relationships through humour and laughter, benefitting our client’s physical and emotional health and making an already rewarding job as a Community Carer so much greater.
As adults, life tends to be more serious and we tend to laugh a little less often. But by seeking out more opportunities for humour and laughter, you can use it as a therapy to improve your emotional health and physical health, possibly adding years to your life.
Laughter can increase immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies, improving your resistance to disease. It also triggers the release of endorphins, giving an overall sense of well-being and can even temporarily relieve pain.
Laughter may even help you to live longer.
A study in Norway found that people with a strong sense of humour outlived those who don’t laugh as much.
Laughter relaxes the body and relieves physical tension and stress, leaving your muscles relaxed for up to 45 minutes after. It also increases blood flow which can help protect you against cardiovascular problems.
Laughter burns calories, one study found that laughing for 10 to 15 minutes a day can burn approximately 40 calories,. Although this may only be enough to lose three or four pounds over the course of a year, it may be more fun than going to the gym!
Laughter can be instrumental in effective dementia care and although there is nothing humorous about dementia, there are serious benefits of laughter for people living with dementia. It can help improve the quality of life for those living with the disease, with studies showing that laughter triggers the release of pleasure-inducing neurochemicals in the brain. It is also an effective tool for reducing the sensations of paranoia and agitation, which sadly many people with dementia struggle with.
A group of Australian researchers did a 3-year study, aptly named SMILE, to see if humour could improve the quality of life for 400 people living with dementia. The results were astonishing, showing that laughter therapy can have the same effect as taking antipsychotic medication, with a 20% reduction in anxiety symptoms.
Laughter really is contagious, just hearing laughter primes your brain and readies you to smile and join in. So remember to have a laugh a day and keep the doctor away!