theOAKJournal

The Power of Laughter

The Power of Laughter

Laughing is one of the best parts of being human. From a small giggle to a deep belly laugh, it's hard to argue that this small act has a significant impact on our happiness, mental fortitude, and even our physical health. It's also too easy to lose this simple joy in life as we grow older. This can be exasperated for entrepreneurs with the challenges and stress that come with the responsibilities of running a business. Several years ago, I had fallen into the pattern of not being able to laugh due to the enormous stress of running a creative agency. My friends started to point out my lack of joy that they recalled before I started my business. I remember going to see Jerry Seinfeld's standup live and not laughing a single time. The show was hilarious and everyone around me was constantly roaring with laughter as I sat in silence with my body obviously overwhelmed with the stress it was under. That is whey I knew I had to make a dramatic shift in my life.

 

Start each day with a laugh.

Laughter dramatically reduces stress along with lowering your brain's levels of cortisol while at the same time increasing your serotonin. Our happiness is something we can intentionally impact with simple actions that create new neuro pathways in our minds. For more on this, check out Mike Simonsen's book 'Hacking Happiness' to see how balancing our brains neurochemistry through simple acts like journaling, showing love for others and meditation, we can control our happiness. Find something every morning that makes you laugh out loud as part of your morning routine. 

 

Laughter is healing

Laughter decreases your body's stress hormones and increases immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies. Laughter also triggers the release of endorphins that give an overall sense of well-being and can even temporarily relieve pain. In addition, a to feeling joy, other benefits are:

  • During a laugh, respiration, heart rate, and blood pressure temporarily rise to cause more oxygen in the bloodstream that then results in lower blood pressure.  

  • It improves the function of blood vessels and increases blood flow, which can help protect against a heart attack and other cardiovascular problems. 

  • Reduce pain and allows toleration of discomfort.

  • Laughter reduces blood sugar levels, increasing glucose tolerance in diabetics and non-diabetics alike. 

  • Laughter relaxes the whole body, relieving tension and stress.

 

Studies show that the average four-year-old laughs over 300 times a day but the typical adult in our society laugh less than 15 times a day. As we grow older, we are exposed to challenges and responsibilities that weigh us down, hindering our ability to laugh out loud. Picasso famously said, "It took me four years to learn how to paint like Raphael, but a lifetime to paint like a child." Take time to enjoy the simple things in life and find your happiness. Find the time to laugh again and you be happier and healthier for it.