Laughter Truly Can Be the Best Medicine: How Laughing Benefits Seniors
Whoever first said laughter is the best medicine must have really felt what a good laugh can do for your body, mind, and spirit. Another undeniable concept is that laughter is contagious, so it can do the same for those around you. But is it all based on fact, or just something people say?
How Laughing Benefits Seniors
Do you believe in the concept of mind over matter? If so, you may be able to literally feel your health improve when you laugh often. While it helps people of all ages, laughing benefits seniors specifically in several ways, especially those who experience mild pain, anxiety, or respiratory problems.
1. Laughter may relieve pain and reduce stress.
The idea that laughter is the best medicine is indeed based on fact, and it benefits both the body and mind.
Laughter releases endorphins, the body’s natural pain killer. Studies have shown that laughing can even slightly increase one’s threshold for pain.
Laughter also increases dopamine levels, which can relieve anxiety and stress.
2. Laughter improves natural circulation.
Research shows that laughter causes blood vessels to expand in order to increase blood flow, which could potentially lead to lower cholesterol and blood pressure levels.
3. It may even boost the immune system.
When we laugh, our body produces more globulins, which make up almost half of blood proteins in our body. Globulins transport hormones and other chemicals that assist in the body’s immune function.
4. Laughter strengthens connections.
A good laugh can help people form stronger bonds. Quality relationships are especially important for seniors for many reasons, including the increase of memory skills and more physical and mental support.
5. Laughter is a small form of exercise.
When you laugh, you use respiratory muscles that you normally do not use in such a manner. In fact, researchers have found that sincere laughter for 10 to 15 minutes per day can burn 50 calories. It’s not much, but coupled with some of the other ways laughing benefits seniors, the positive effects of laughter are undeniable.
Although it comes naturally, sometimes people hold back their laughter. But it doesn’t have to be so. If something is funny, go ahead and laugh out loud, even in public. Embrace opportunities to have a good laugh, such as by watching a funny movie, using an app to listen to a stand-up comedian, or reflecting over funny memories with family and friends.
Remember that when you laugh, you make others happy and they likely will laugh right along with you. And when the whole room laughs, it’s a beautiful sound.