Wise-up Wednesday: Laughter is Good Brain Fuel

A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones. Proverbs 17:22 ESV

Surely you have heard the old saying (dates back to the 1700s), “every Tom, Dick or Harry” referring to ‘everyone.’  Well, that is my dad’s name. Yep, you read that right: my father is Thomas Richard Harry.  When he was born there were two teenage boys at home itching to name their little brother.  Thankfully, my dad has a great sense of humor!  Perhaps it is developed with a name like Tom, Dick and Harry you either embrace it and have fun with it or you live a life being offended. 😉

Research has shown that laughing is more than just a person’s voice and movement. Laughter requires the coordination of many muscles throughout the body. Some (not all inclusive) Effects of Laughter*:

  1. increases blood pressure
  2. increases heart rate
  3. changes breathing
  4. reduces levels of certain neurochemicals
  5. provides a boost to the immune system

Laughter reduces levels of certain stress hormones. In doing this, laughter provides a safety valve that shuts off the flow of stress hormones and the fight-or-flight compounds that swing into action in our bodies when we experience stress, anger or hostility. When we’re laughing, natural killer cells that destroy tumors and viruses increase, as do Gamma-interferon (a disease-fighting protein), T-cells, which are a major part of the immune response, and B-cells, which make disease-destroying antibodies.**

Laughter may lead to hiccuping and coughing, which clears the respiratory tract by dislodging mucous plugs. Laughter also increases the concentration of salivary immunoglobulin A, which defends against infectious organisms entering through the respiratory tract.**

Think about it, would you rather be with a gloomy ‘ho-hum’ person or a person who is always smiling and laughing?  Laughter feels good and it is contagious.

So you don’t have a funny man or woman at your disposal?

Here are a few suggestions to add laughter to your life:

1) Rent clips of a good clean-humored comedian, sitcom or comedy movie

2) Figure out what makes your family laugh and do your best to get them rolling with laughter [funny faces, dancing, talking funny]

3) Remember that if you put one person down in order to make another laugh you are defeating the overall good intentions, i.e., sarcasm does not always equate to good humor.

4) Lighten up: laugh at yourself when you make mistakes, trust me, it is very freeing as it is physically and emotionally cleansing

5) Be with groups of cheerful people.

[sources: *faculty.washington.edu and **How Stuff Works


3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Jen VanWormer
    Oct 10, 2013 @ 05:53:05




  2. Cindy
    Oct 10, 2013 @ 07:47:03

    Great words of truth AND encouragement, Kim!!! In other words we could change the words that the 7 dwarfs sang to Snow White…..”Chuckle while you work.” 🙂
    Keep up the good advice.


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