When Allie was very tiny, about 16 months old, she was starting to "pretend play". She picked up a block that had a slight curve to it, like a phone. She put it to her ear and pretended to be talking on the phone. The longer Jon's mother and I watched her, the longer we were amazed. She would put the phone to her ear, talk a bunch of words and then laugh out loud. She did this again and again. When we asked her what she was doing, she said that she was talking on the phone. Jon's mother turned to me and said that she was acting just like me! Of course, that made me laugh, too. But, up until that point, I had no idea how much I laughed!
My brother likes to laugh. When we are together, just some of his innocent looks and expressions make my laugh excessively! When he throws up his arms and his eyes look upward, I can't help but giggle at his exasperation!
When we were picking up Theo, I did a lot of drawing. At one point, my pencil point kept breaking and I kept sharpening it. At one point, I got so frustrated when it broke again, I just threw it in the trash can and let out a big sigh. Theo, only 6 months old, had been watching me intently. When I tossed it in the trashcan and mumbled a few choice words, he giggled out loud!
The reason I mention this is that aside from feeling good, laughter really is the best medicine!
Did you know that laughter strengthens the immune system, reduces food cravings and increases your threshold for pain. It is also a great stress reducer.
- Laughter reduces various stress hormones (cortisol, epinephrine, and dopamine). It increases healthy hormones, like endorphins and neurotransmitters. It increases antibody producing cells and makes T cells more effective. This makes for a stronger immune system.
- Ever laugh 'till it hurt? Well, a good laugh contracts abdominal muscles, contracts the diaphram and even works the shoulders.
- Laughter is a great distraction from everyday stresses. When you are laughing, you aren't thinking about anger, guilt or stress.
- Laughter is a socializer. We laugh when we are with others, we connect with others this way.
So, if you are a "laughy" person, enjoy it! If not, take time to find humor in your everyday life. Instead of complaining about frustrating things or people, take a minute to laugh them off instead.