Finding Laughter: Benefits of Laughter & How to Assess (Day 2)
Like every human emotion, reflex, skill, and aptitude, laughter has been researched. Scientists have discovered that laughter benefits the body in its cognitive, somatic, social and emotional spheres. Some say that laughter works like medication in dealing with stress, pain, etc. However unlike the medications that do the same, laughter has no side effects and you can’t overdose on it.
He who laughs, lasts! — Mary Pettibone Poole
I’ve heard that engaging in regular laughter can help in many areas. I am going to list the areas that I am especially interested in and how I will asses if there is any change in my body. . . .
ONE. CARDIO WORKOUT. Truth! This is something I learned from a TED talk I listened to yesterday. I don’t really care for exercise; maybe this is one cardio exercise I could come to love.
To see if laughter has a cardio effect on me, I will keep tabs on my pulse all month-long measuring it at the same time each day. My current resting pulse is 69.
TWO. EXERCISES ABS. Another TED talk from yesterday made this claim.So I wonder how hard it is to laugh for 10 minutes? And does it have to be continuous? I will let you now more on these TED findings in another post.
To see if laughter does indeed exercise my abs, I will measure them at the start of the month and then again at the end of the month. It is not likely that I will share either number.
THREE. LESSENS PAIN. Laughing releases endorphins which are made by the body as pain killers. I frequently have hip pain and so I want to see if laughing will help reduce it.
To see if laughter lessens my hip pain, I will write down my level of pain each night in my journal. At the end of the month I will see what the numbers disclose,
FOUR. LOWERS BLOOD PRESSURE. Even lowering a normal bp helps lessen the risk of strokes and heart attacks. And as a diabetic, I am at risk for both of these.
To see if laughter lowers my bp, I will take my bp at the same time every day during October. My current bp is normally 140/80.
FIVE. LOWERS STRESS. Laughter reduces stress because it gets your mind off your troubles and because it has an aerobic impact on the body. Lower stress means the number of stress hormones in your body also lowers. This in turn can help boost the body’s immune system.
Laughter is important, not only because it makes us happy, it also has actual health benefits. And that’s because laughter completely engages the body and releases the mind. It connects us to others, and that in itself has a healing effect. ~ Marlo Thomas
Two things could happen for me.
- Lower stress means lower cortisol. Excess cortisol causes the body to make stomach fat and is very hard to lose.Lower cortisol means I could lose fat around my stomach.
- A heightened immune system could mean my body is able to better combat my diabetes; maybe resulting in lower blood sugar (bs) readings.
To see if laughter boosts my immune system, I will . . .
- Measure my stomach, waist and hips on October 3 and again on October 31.
- And I will also keep track of my bs numbers (at least) 5 times a day during October.
OKAY – here I go using myself as a guinea pig!
Your Turn . . . What benefits would you like to receive from laughter? . . . Have you ever used yourself as a guinea pig?
During this month of October I am joining LOTS of bloggers who will be writing every day about a topic. My topic is 31 Days of Finding Laughter. I will spend time each day studying laughter to see if I can improve my laughter quotient.
Go here for the landing page which has all the posts in one spot.
Read, learn, and discover with me what this world of laughter is all about and is it all that it’s cracked up to be. And be sure to leave a comment. Talking together will make for a richer, interactive experience for all of us.