Laughter Can Be One of the Best Medicines For Older Adults
They say laughter can be one of the best medicines-and it's true! Research has found that when people are connected through laughter, positive emotional and physical changes can occur; such as decreased pain levels, protection from the harmful effects of stress, and even a stronger immune system (Geller, 2018). For older adults, the effects can be even more profound. Research has also shown that laughter can enhance the quality of life in older adults by increasing blood vessel function, relieving stress and tension, improving memory, as well as boosting overall happiness. In addition to providing a strengthened immune system, laughter can increase blood
oxygenation and aid circulation, which ultimately reduces blood pressure and cholesterol.
Laughter also has the ability to increase levels of endorphins, dopamine, and other
stress-reducing chemicals in the body (Yim, 2016). Research has demonstrated a link between laughter and revitalized mental heath. For instance, laughter can cease distressing emotions; it can help you relax and recharge; it shifts perspective,
allowing you to see situations in a more practical, less threatening light. A humorous outlook creates psychological distance, which can help you avoid feeling overwhelmed and diffuse conflict. Laughter also has the power to draw you closer to others, which can have a significant impact on all aspects of your mental and emotional health (Savage, et al., 2017).
Laughter is a natural part of life that is innate and inborn. Infants begin smiling during the first weeks of life and laugh out loud within months of being born. Even if you did not grow up in a household where laughter was a common sound, you can learn to laugh at any stage of life.
Author: Jamie Snyder
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Savage, B., Lujan, H., Thipparthi, R., & DiCarlo, S. (2017, July 5). Humor, laughter, learning,
and health! A brief review. Advances Physiological Education, 41(3), 341-347.
Yim J. (2016). Therapeutic benefits of laughter in mental health: A theoretical review. The
Tohoku Journal of Experimental Medicine, 239(3), 243–249.