Hi, I’m Beth Misner, and I want to welcome you to episode 10 of the Abundant Health podcast.
I’m really glad you’re joining me today, and I hope you’ll come back again. In my weekly podcast, I tell stories, share strategies, and practical information about creating abundant health.
My focus is three-fold: body, mind, and spirit because I believe abundant health needs all three of these areas to be working together. They’re like a three-legged stool, and if any one of the three legs isn’t right, your stool is going to tip over, and I don’t want to see that happen.
I’m bringing over 35 years of experience in health and wellness to my podcast series. My experiences and the things I have learned along the way will benefit YOU so you don’t have to make the same mistakes I did.
Today’s topic is the power of laughter to heal.
You’ve most likely all heard it said that “laughter is the best medicine,” but what does that really mean and is it true? I believe it IS true and today I’m going to explain very simply and clearly WHY it’s true. You don’t have to be a scientist to understand it, and once you know the “why” behind this powerful healing strategy, you’ll be eager to use it over and over . . . all day long!
Here are three ways laughter can help you recover your health and maintain it!
- Laughter releases endorphins that combat stress and inflammation. These endorphins are powerful and are related by opioid receptors in the brain! They are analgesic in nature, which helps your body dial down physical pain. So instead of reaching for the bottle of pills, take some time to have a long, deep belly laugh!
- Laughter has a similar impact to anti-depressants because it cues the brain to release serotonin. SSRIs also stimulate the brain to continue producing serotonin. I’m going to talk in a moment about how to address this point if you are already depressed and just do not feel like laughing in the first place.
- Laughter promotes social bonding . . . it can be beneficial to laugh with others, because the social interaction helps you feel closer with each other and promotes a good brain bath in oxytocin. But! Consider this: it’s just as beneficial to your body and brain to MAKE someone else laugh. You have the delicious anticipation building of getting a good laugh out of someone AND the satisfaction of then seeing them crack up. It’s a double whammy.
So what about those times when you just don’t feel like laughing because you are in pain or you’re feeling really down in the first place. Well, research has shown that even if you are “faking it,” your brain doesn’t realize that. Just the physical action of laughing stimulates these feel-good hormones. I have a couple of things to say about this:
First of all, when something even mildly tickles my funny bone, I purposefully release a huge laugh—louder than I really feel like because it’s a good opportunity to laugh out loud. Then it triggers that moment when my funny box turns over and I get an authentic experience of laughter. And if I cannot bring myself to do that, I go for the “hee hee hee hee hee” chortle, knowing that it will get the motor started.
Secondly, I ask for help from Ivan. My husband loves to make me laugh. When I was focusing on healing breast cancer in 2017, one of my health practitioners, Mohammad Nikkhah, recommended that I give Ivan the assignment to make me laugh three or four times a day. He enjoyed doing that, and I have to say I loved it, too!
Laughter is so powerful for healing our bodies and keeping our innate immune system resilient and ready for any threat, that it’s a good idea to intentionally do something each day that allows you to release a great laugh. Have you heard about laughter yoga? Yes, it’s a real thing and never ceases to push me over the edge into a really hearty laugh. You can find some videos on YouTube. I also have to admit that I can be reduced to tears of laughter by watching baby goats and other baby animals and baby humans. There are some comedians who can make me laugh and even if the joke is only partially funny, I use that as a jumpstart to get a good laugh going! Michael McIntyre is a British comedian who never fails to get me to laughing but good.
So let me end this episode with a knock-knock joke I heard from a six year old: Knock-knock. Who’s there? Cash. Cash who? No thank you, I’d rather have an almond. LOL!!!
I want to thank you for you being with me here today on this episode of the Abundant Health Podcast. I look forward to meeting you back here again next week!
Until then, may you experience Abundant Health.