ARTICLES / General /Laughter
is the Best Medicine/
By Helen Hunter, ACSW, LSW
Laughing burns calories – laughter is sometimes
referred to as “inner jogging”. A hearty laugh gives
the muscles of the face, chest, shoulders, stomach
and diaphragm a good workout.
Laughter also helps to create a positive mood. It
allows the expression of happiness and the release
of anxiety. Humor eases tension and is a great
antidote to a stressful situation. Laughter is often
seen as a temporary vacation from everyday problems,
bringing us to a paradise in which worries do not
exist. Humor and laughter are natural safety valves
that shut off certain hormones that are released
during stressful situations. In fact, your sense of
humor is one of the most powerful tools you have to
make certain that your daily mood and emotional
state support good health.
Here are some ways to bring more humor and laughter
into your life:
Smile: Smiling is the beginning of
laughter. Like laughter, it’s contagious. When you
look at someone or see something even mildly
pleasing, practice smiling!
Count your blessings: Literally
make a list. The simple act of considering the good
things in your life will distance you from negative
thoughts that are a barrier to humor and laughter!
When you hear laughter, move toward it:
People are very happy to share something
funny because it gives them an opportunity to laugh
again and feel the humor in it. When individuals
hear laughter, they seek it out and ask “What’s
Spend time with fun, playful people:
These are people who laugh easily, both at
themselves and at life’s absurdities and who
routinely find humor in everyday events. Their
playful point of view and laughter are contagious!!
Bring humor into conversations: Ask
people: What’s the funniest thing that happened to
you today? This week? In your life?
Laugh at yourself: Share your
Attempt to laugh at situations rather than
bemoan them: Look for the humor in a bad
situation, the irony and absurdity of life. This
will help improve your mood and the mood of those
Surround yourself with reminders to lighten
up: Keep a toy on your desk or in your car.
Put up a funny poster in your office. Choose a
computer screensaver that makes you laugh. Frame
photos of you and your family having fun.
Keep things in perspective: Many
things are beyond our control, so make the best of a
situation and find the positive in the situation.