April is National Humor Month and it’s no joke.
Conceived as a means to bring awareness of the therapeutic value of humor, National Humor Month aims to prove that joy and laughter lead to improved over all health and well-being.
This is a notion supported by scientific research. A visit to Chopra.com shows laughter actually helps the human body relax.“It’s like internal jogging, providing a good massage to all internal organs while also toning abdominal muscles,” says Dr. Gulshan Sethi, head of cardiothoracic surgery at the Tucson Medical Center and faculty at the University of Arizona’s Center for Integrative Medicine.
According to the site, laughter is contagious; boosts immunity, reduces the stress response, increases resilience and combats depression.
So how do we achieve laughter?
The simple ways are obvious – watch your favorite funny movie, spend time with friends who make you laugh, see a comedy show or scroll through funny animal memes.
But what if we struggle? That means we may be overworked, spending time with the wrong people or have poor taste in television shows, books and friends.
In all seriousness, a lack of laughter is a sign of depression. Please consider seeing your primary care physician for a talk on ways to relieve depression through therapy and/or medications. Spending some time outside to kick some Vitamin D back into your system after a gloomy Michigan winter can help.
Keep in mind that exercise will increase your endorphins, helping combat depression as well. Speaking of exercise, laughter is great for your health – but it won’t necessarily help you lose weight.
Although laughing does raise energy you expend and your heart rate by 10-20 percent, this is on the same page as burning an extra 10-40 calories for every 10-15 minutes laughing. On a modest level, that means it would take a few hours of solid laughing to burn off a snickers bar. You might do better to walk on a treadmill while watching a funny movie.