I have referred to laughter as the “best medicine” just as many others do but I knew little about the science behind laughter, but now I know.
I came across the quote “Laughter is the best medicine. Unless you’re laughing for no reason….then you need medicine.” It sounds great and will get you laughing or at least smiling yet I beg to differ. My advice; find a reason to laugh no matter what and if you find none laugh anyway.
My daughter keeps insisting I should laugh more, so I decided to spread the love this week. I remember almost a decade ago I decided to spend my first three hours of being awake laughing or smiling no matter what. It set the tone for a successful day. I did not bother about the early morning traffic, neither did I scream or honk at careless drivers, but I guess as the years dragged on and the reality of fuel price hikes, electricity challenges and an ailing Ghana cedi among many others hit home, the smile and laughter faded but I ALWAYS get back once I realise I am “short-changing” myself.
My prescription for you and myself thanks to my daughter is “Laugh at least 5 minutes in the morning and 5 minutes at the end of the day” no matter what. Do it even if you have no reason to.
Now what does science say about laughter?
1. It helps make the world a better place
a. Laughter is contagious so set the ball rolling by laughing and many others will join in the fun.
2. You learn better
a. Well no need to get all serious and mean while you learn something new. A good dose of laughter while you learn may actually make the process more efficient. Word of caution, DO NOT distract others by laughing in an annoying way.
3. You get a health boost
a. We know this right? I found out that laughter may actually increase good cholesterol while lowering inflammation. We do need more data on this but really, keep laughing it can’t possibly harm you.
4. Makes you more robust
a. A nervous laughter when your back is against the wall? Laughter helps regulate your emotions in a difficult situation. Crying or frowning is unlikely to have positive returns.
5. Lowers stress and improves memory
a. Stress hormone especially in the elderly is reduced by laughter and one’s ability to remember gets a much needed spike.
6. Makes you more attractive
a. People are always attracted to a “smiling face” or someone who laughs often. They make the party come alive.
7. Improves your relationship
a. Whether you are negotiating a deal at work, interacting with family or friends; laughter creates stronger bonds leading to better outcomes and building stronger relationships.
8. May help burn off some calories
a. Now I may be pushing this too much but truth is laughter does raise your energy expenditure and heart rate. Though the calories you burn may be few per bout of laughter, every positive thing adds up for our good.
9. Boosts immune function and enhances sleep
a. Say good bye to frequent common colds and laying in bed for long hours listening to the dogs in the neighbourhood “chitchatting”, a leaking tap dripping or worse still a snore within earshot that will compete with Louis Armstrong on the trumpet.
b. Combine laughter with your daily dose of exercise and your winning combination is a reality.
10. May improve blood pressure and relax muscles
a. I will not advise you to drop your medication for all day laughter but I am sure laughter will play a positive role in reducing stress, giving you a feeling of wellbeing, relaxing your muscles in the process and your blood pressure may be sending you a thank you beat sooner than later.
Good health, improved learning ability and an enviable memory packaged with an attractive personality and a penchant to build strong relationships sounds like a team player who is destined for success in all fields. That you may agree will make your trips to the bank exciting and of course cause you to laugh all the way to the bank. The cycle repeats itself.
Have you had your daily dose of laughter yet?
To laugh or not to laugh? The answer is simple, “the feel-good hormones that laughter brings to you will take loads of chocolates to do the same and it won’t add extra calories.”
AS ALWAYS LAUGH OFTEN, ENSURE HYGIENE, WALK AND PRAY EVERYDAY AND REMEMBER IT’S A PRICELESS GIFT TO KNOW YOUR NUMBERS (blood sugar, blood pressure, blood cholesterol, BMI)
Dr. Kojo Cobba Essel
Health Essentials Ltd/Mobissel/St. Andrews Clinic
*Dr. Essel is a medical doctor, holds an MBA and is ISSA certified in exercise therapy, fitness nutrition and corrective exercise. He is the author of the award-winning book, ‘Unravelling The Essentials of Health & Wealth.’
Thought for the week – “laughter is contagious – Laugh and the whole world laughs with you.”-
1. Fulfillment Daily -7 science-backed reasons why laughing is good for you (2016)
2. Stanford Business