The dental assistant and dentist suddenly pulled away from me. “Janai, something flew out of your head and hit the doctor on his forehead!” The wide-eyed dentist searched the floor, finding a bobby pin, looking perplexed.
I confessed. “I wear a wig and crisscross bobby pins to keep the wig in place. Sometimes they are wound so tight they shoot out like canons! I am so sorry! I have no control over them.” We bursted out laughing! They gingerly continuing the dental work, paranoid of flying ammo.
Laughing at myself is part of my health regime. Research shows that women tend to giggle while men tend to chuckle. But gut-rendering laughter is where the health secret lies according to scientific data. I prefer to call the full meal deal a ‘laughgasm’. That’s when your whole body ripples in laughter’s embrace. I create laughable opportunities like having a snowball fight with myself. Missed my face twice before I hit the target!
Laughing burns calories. 10 minutes daily burns the same number of calories as a 30 minute workout. Deep laughter changes life’s perspective by finding delight, experiencing joy, and releasing tension. It activates the chemistry of the will to live, increasing our capacity to fight disease. Endorphins, the body’s natural pain killers, are released during deep heartfelt laughter. The antibody, IGA, killer T-cells, and tolerance with pain are increased with laughter while serum cortisol (stress hormone) decreases. (3)
Different strokes occur for different folks on the laugh meter. I thought it was hilarious when my kids were little and I dressed as a pimple for Halloween with yards of pink material over a hula hoop. They didn’t get any endorphins out of it.
My favorite show growing up was I LOVE LUCY. Sometimes I feel related. Combating a sore throat one day, I gargled with apple cider vinegar. Unfortunately, just before gargling I had a drink of baking soda water to balance the PH in my body. What ensued was continual frothing at the mouth which made me look like I had rabies! HaHaHa! Funny now, not then! One of my goals is to remember to laugh AT the time and not have to wait for the benefits to counteract the calamity.
Clinical studies by Lee Berk at Loma Linda University show laughter strengthens the immune system by increasing infection-fighting antibodies. In 1987, Texas Tech psychologist Rosemary Cogan used the discomfort of a pressure cuff testing medical benefits of laughter on pain management. Subjects who watched a 20-minute Lily Tomlin routine tolerated a tighter cuff than those who watched an informational tape. Laughter relaxes muscles and stimulates both brain hemispheres. That keeps the brain alert allowing people to retain more information. Frequent belly laughter of the laughgasm nature empties lungs, providing a cleansing effect, increasing oxygen-enriched blood and nutrients throughout the body. A study at the University of Maryland Medical Center indicates laughter may help prevent heart disease. (1)
William Fry, MD, Professor of Psychiatry, Stanford University, states, “One minute of laughter is equal to ten minutes on the rowing machine. Hearty laughter provides good cardiac, abdominal, facial, and back muscle conditioning, helping those unable to perform physical exercise.” (2)
Humor and laughter are powerful emotional medicines that dissolve anger, lower stress, and unite people in difficult times. Finding humor in challenging and frustrating situations elevates moods. Laughing at ourselves and situations will create new perspectives. One day I was so embarrassed meeting a woman on a hiking trail as the right side of my sunglasses suddenly popped out and hit her. She backed away, shocked. As I apologized, we both started laughing heartily..
Years ago, I accidentally sat on my purse in a reception room. A huge flatulent sounding toot blasted out. The receptionist and people in the waiting room looked up, startled. (Being Grandma Boom, I respected my grandson’s stage of being into flatulent toot sounds and was carrying a tooting toy in my purse.) I grabbed my purse searching for the tooting toy while saying, “That was NOT me! There is a tooting toy in my purse!” No one said a word. Frantically, I plunged my hand into the purse determined to find that little odorless joke. Once I did, I had to demonstrate how it worked. The receptionist insisted on using it! Laughter filled the reception room.
Laughgasms are good for the mind, body, soul and relationships. Create your dosage daily.
It’s a medicine that you can definitely self-prescribe!
(1) Laughter for Your Health and Happiness www.helpguide.com
(2) Benefits to the Immune System, The Humor Foundation 2015
(3)The Connection between Humor, Laughter and Good Health, May 2008