Visiting Angels, Barrington Blog

The Best Medicine

Elderly man laughingThere’s nothing like a good laugh. It can sneak up on us and take over our whole personality. Laughter makes us forget our worries and fills us with joy. Laughter is like a momentary vacation for the soul, enabling us to be fully alive in the moment.

It was Milton Burle who famously remarked: “Laughter is the best medicine in the world.” We know that laughing feels good, but is it true that it actually has a healing dimension?

According to the staff at the Mayo Clinic, enjoying a laugh does more than feel good, it also has concrete health benefits. They explain in their health blog: “A good laugh has great short-term effects. When you start to laugh, it doesn't just lighten your load mentally, it actually induces physical changes in your body.”

These are some ways that welcoming more levity and more laughter can aid your health.

Stress Relief:

Have you even been engaged in a deep, worrisome conversation, when out of nowhere someone cracks a joke that breaks the ice? It almost feels like the laughter pushes a reset button. Suddenly, things don’t seem so heavy.

The team at the Mayo Clinic explain that this reaction is part of the body’s physical response to laughter. They explain: “Laughter enhances your intake of oxygen-rich air, stimulates your heart, lungs and muscles, and increases the endorphins that are released by your brain…Laughter can also stimulate circulation and aid muscle relaxation, both of which can help reduce some of the physical symptoms of stress.”

This stress reduction may be why, after everyone regains composure, it seems like there’s a little more room to breathe. Conversation seems refreshed and easier after a laugh.

The Mayo team explains that some other positive results of laughter include more long term pay offs like an enhanced immune system and pain relief.

Invite Humor:

Sometimes, when life feels difficult or stressful and we’re not feeling our best, we may not want to laugh. We may adopt a routine that pushes it away. We may find ourselves in a rut that doesn’t welcome new sources of stimulation. But laughter is an easy, fun way to shake up your mode and reinvent your perspective. The Mayo Blog advises: “Are you afraid you have an underdeveloped — or nonexistent — sense of humor? No problem. Humor can be learned. In fact, developing or refining your sense of humor may be easier than you think.”

Technology has made it easy to track down those books, magazines, shows and movies that have always given us a laugh. Go for it. Get your family involved. Invite the kids or the grandkids over to watch those old sitcoms that always got you going. Make a list of movies that you’d like to see again. Go to the local library and reread those books and comics that have always made you laugh.

Give yourself permission to pursue your own laugh track and cultivate humor for yourself and your clan.

Share Humor:

Get in touch with your funny side. Check out joke books. Read funny riddles and share those with the people around you. Think of ways to make your Visiting Angels caregiver laugh.

While there’s no guarantee that they will laugh at all your jokes, senior care from Visiting Angels Barrington is provided by some of the best elder companions around. Our caregivers truly enjoy helping others and have committed themselves to treating clients with dignity and respect. Our interview process is thorough. You can feel good about the caregiver you invite into your home to provide assistance for yourself or your family. Visiting Angels Caregivers share support, companionship and usually even a laugh or two!

“Laughter is the sun that drives winter from the human face.” - Victor Hugo

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