The Power of Laughter

Your grandma or grandpa may have told you that laughter is the best medicine. And, as is often is the case, they were right. Whether during the COVID-19 Pandemic or more normal times, laughter can help, regardless of gender or age. It can help caregivers and the clients they provide care for.

According to MayoClinic.org, laughter provides short- and long-term benefits. From a short-term standpoint, laughter not only relaxes you it immediately promotes physical changes in your body. Laughter stimulates your heart, lungs and muscles and increases the endorphins released by your brain. In addition, laughter can increase and then decrease your heart rate and blood pressure and stimulate circulation and aid muscle relaxation.

Over the longer term, laughter can improve your immune system, help release pain and increase your mood and the way you cope with challenging situations. PsychiatricTimes.com reports that the medical value of humor is not a new phenomenon. The publication highlights Henri de Mondeville, a professor of surgery, who advocated post-operative therapy with humor.

Although the COVID-19 Pandemic may limit our ability to converse in person with others, thanks to technology there are a plethora of opportunities that may tickle your funny bone. Here are five possibilities.

Baby Videos

Whose heart doesn’t melt when babies say and do funny things? An almost inexhaustible resources of baby videos is available on platforms such as YouTube. Just type “funny babies” into the search bar on YouTube and prepare to lighten your mood and laugh the time away.

Reminisce with Friends and Family

During your next conversation or Zoom call with family and friends, challenge everyone to tell a funny story. Not only will the story illustrate the shared connection of the group, but it’s a chance to do down memory lane and share some laughs along the way. It’s always fascinating what people find funny and what stories stick in the brains and what don’t.

Movie and Comedy Time

What’s a funny movie or TV Show you remember fondly but haven’t seen in a while? Watch it again and just try not to feel more relaxed! Better yet, recommend it to a friend and pass on the laughter.

Just Smile and Laugh Already

Even if you’re not naturally in the mood to smile and laugh, do so anyway. The smile and laugh may be forced but the resulting endorphin rush is not.

“What’s crazy is that just the physical act of smiling can make a difference in building your community,” Dr. Murray Grossan, an ENT-otolaryngologist told NBCNews.com. “When you smile, the brain sees the muscle (activity) and assumes that humor is happening.”

Make Humor Unavoidable

Is there a picture that makes you laugh or a quote that always elicits a chuckle? If so, caregivers can place it prominently so that the client can laugh and see it multiple times a day.

Especially during stressful times, it’s important to find humor in life and look for ways to laugh. Your mind and body will thank you for it!