Nutrition-wise blog

Make laughter a habit

By Katherine Zeratsky, R.D., L.D. and Jennifer K. Nelson, R.D., L.D. August 9, 2014

Laughter is about being present. When you laugh you enjoy the here and now. There are therapeutic benefits to laughter and for this reason it is one of the 12 Habits of Highly Healthy People.

Research shows laughter offers us health benefits in four health dimensions: physical, intellectual, emotional and spiritual.

Physical health

  • Laugher is like "internal jogging." It temporarily increases your heart rate and blood pressure, followed by muscle relaxation and a decrease in blood pressure.
  • It may boost the immune system and promote healing.
  • It burns calories – 60 to 120 calories an hour over your resting metabolism.

Intellectual health

  • Laughter an create a positive affect which in turn may influence attention, institution, creativity and imagination.
  • It been found to enhance employee morale, resilience and belief is one's abilities in the workplace.

Emotional health

  • Laugher is a great positive coping skill.
  • It can reduce stress by providing a positive way to look at a problem.
  • It solidifies friendships and makes people feel included.

Spiritual health

  • Laugher is a universal language and can be an interfaith experience.
  • It fosters connection and compassion.

Here are some opportunities you can explore related to laughter:

  • Try laughter yoga —a fun combination of stretching, breathing and laughing exercises that can help you feel awakened, confident, creative, productive and ready to tackle anything.
  • Build an inventory of funny jokes, cartoons and stories.
  • Have a joke jar at home or in your office.

Of course, it's important to distinguish between laughter that heals and laughter that hurts. Consider how you can bring more gratitude, acceptance, and laughter into your life and lives of those you touch.

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Aug. 09, 2014