Geriatrician, Hospitalist, Patient Advocate, Healthcare Educator

Laugh a Little More

A day without laughter is a day wasted

Charlie Chaplin

It is often said that laughter is the best medicine. Do you remember the last time you really laughed, whole heartedly with heart and soul?  The average adult laughs about 15 to 17 times a day whereas children laugh a lot more. The health benefits of laughter are numerous, and it is one of the easiest things to do.

It was Dr. Madan Kataria, a physician in India, who developed an exercise known as laughter yoga in the 1990s and is the founder of the worldwide Laughter Yoga movement. Laughter yoga is a modern exercise involving prolonged voluntary laughter. This type of yoga is based on the belief that voluntary laughter provides similar physiological and psychological benefits as spontaneous laughter. Dr. Kataria created World Laughter Day on May 10, 1998. Since then, World Laughter Day is celebrated every year on the first Sunday of May to raise awareness of the multiple health benefits of laughing. Some of these benefits include:

  • Strengthens immune system
  • Improves blood flow and the function of blood vessels which help protect us against cardiovascular disease and heart attacks
  • Helps burn calories
  • Reduces stress level and relaxes the body
  • Diminishes pain
  • Improves overall mood as it releases endorphins, our body’s “feel good” chemicals
  • Promotes bonding between groups and individuals

Laughing is a natural part of everyday life but we need to do more of it to actually get the benefits it can offer. So, what can we do to bring more laughter into our lives? We can smile more and gravitate towards things that make us happy. Here are some ideas:

  • Spend more time playing games be it cards, board games, or along with TV game shows
  • Watch funny movies, TV shows, or videos online
  • Gravitate towards people who are laughing and playing such as kids
  • Play with your pets
  • Bring humor into your conversations
  • Take part in activities you may like such as bowling, karaoke, playing or listening to music
  • Create something you love and brings pleasure to you, it will surely make you smile-an art piece, knitting, new dish to try
  • Check out a laughter yoga class near you or on YouTube
  • Don’t be afraid to laugh at yourself

Take a mental note of what will make you smile and laugh and do more of it!