Laughter remains the best medicine


I was sitting at my desk this morning trying to think of what to write about and was coming up with a big zero. Writers block can be a real drag!

I stepped away from my blinking cursor on the blank page to sit in on a game of Euchre with some of the members at the Senior Center. It didn’t take long before I found myself laughing so hard I was crying. Who knew that a simple game of cards could lead to so much fun and laughter! When we were done my tummy was a little sore, my face actually hurt a little from smiling so much and I felt rejuvenated and ready to tackle anything!

Then it hit me, laughter really is the best medicine! I went from feeling stressed to feeling blessed! And all it took was some really good laughter. I was curious as to whether or not there was any actual medical benefits to laughter so I did what most doctors hate….. I Googled it! Here is what I found:

Laughter stimulates your heart, lungs and muscles, and increases the endorphins that are released by your brain. Laughter also reduces the stress chemicals in your brain and increases the amount of oxygen flowing through your brain and body, which is great for your mental health. Laughing can even turn a negative experience into a positive one and can brighten your mood for the rest of the day.

This all made sense to me, but the next bit of information I found was right up my alley. Why? Because I am not a fan of exercise, even though it is good for me. So, when I saw that laughing actually does burn calories, boost the immune system, calm your muscles, reduce physical pain and lower blood sugar levels with no negative side effects. I was hooked! This means, laughter will help improve your metabolism naturally, which in turn, influences your body to burn more calories and lose weight.

It has become clear to me that we all need to find a way to inject humor into our lives each day. It is important not just for our physical health but also for our mental well-being. How do we find the humor in things? Be willing to laugh at yourself, and find the up side to any situation. For example, the card game I mentioned earlier. I didn’t take it too serious, yes I wanted to win, but I was willing to laugh when my partner and I lost a hand, or two, or three…. Ok the whole game! As the four of us played, funny comments were made that caused me to laugh a lot. For those that know me well, that means I laughed so hard I snorted. Yes, I will admit that. But you know what happened then? Everyone laughed! I didn’t take myself too serious and was willing to laugh at myself.

Laughter is so easy to come by, if we just allow ourselves to do it. Life itself is funny, if we choose to see it that way. A dear friend of mine who is 94 years old says to me often: “You have to laugh in life or otherwise you have a dull and boring life.” She is 94 so it has to be true, it has gotten her this far!

If you are over 50 and looking for something to do that will bring lots of fun and laughter, stop down to the Senior Center! We always have something to do, people to meet and fun new things to try!

Until I see you at the Center,

Have a Blessed Day!

By Rachel Hale

The writer is the executive director of the Senior Center of Sidney and Shelby County.

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