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MU Psych Central – Power of Laughter

Dr. Mayo shares the benefits of enjoying a daily dose of laughter!

 

by Dr Nicolle Mayo - June 29, 2016

Laughter is really under-rated when it comes to our physical and mental health. Many people know that it feels good to laugh and improves our mood in the moment, but what about long-term benefits? Medical doctors and psychology researchers, alike, have done significant research on the healing powers of laughter. One medical doctor you may already be familiar with, Dr. Hunter Campbell, the original “Patch Adams”, inspired the movie in 1998. He even came to speak at Mansfield University a couple of years ago! He and others have found that the very movement of our diaphragm frees up muscular tensions within the body, mobilizing the voice and breathing. Laughter reduces tension while relaxing the whole body, lowers stress levels and blood pressure, exercises our hearts, reduces pain, strengthens our immune system and improves our sense of well-being by reducing depression and anger. In order to reap the benefits of laughter, we need to know what makes us laugh, so we can laugh more often.

You can implement moments of laughter in your everyday life, by taking life less seriously, finding one humorous thing each day, smiling randomly and often, watching a funny movie or TV show, spending time with funny people, finding the bookstore’s humor section, watching a comedian, or even engaging in silly laughter exercises as I show in the feature. Although seemingly ridiculous, these and other exercises are used in a variety of areas for therapeutic and healthy benefits, including yoga and therapy. When you have nothing to laugh about in particular, forcing yourself to laugh may actually induce real, genuine laughter, as you can see in today’s feature. Not only that, but when you laugh, it’s contagious, and affects others in a positive way. Laughter binds people together, increasing happiness and even moments of intimacy, while giving you “feel good” energy, focus, and alertness. The best part, it’s free, fast, and an easy way to improve your long-term health. So why not incorporate more laughter into your day? What have you got to lose? If anything, you will look a little goofy, like we did in today’s feature. But, it’s all the more to make others laugh and brighten their day. These moments will be remembered for days, months, even years to come.

MU Psych Central is supported by the Mansfield Psychology Department, which includes Dr. Gretchen Sechrist, Department Chair and Associate Professor, who specializes in Social Psychology, Dr. Brian Loher, Professor, our Human Resource Management specialist, Dr. Francis Craig, Professor, expert in Mind/Body Health, Dr. Karri Verno, Associate Professor, who specializes in Lifespan Development and Forensic Psychology and Nicolle Mayo, Assistant Professor, expert in Marriage and Family Therapy.

Credits:

Writing: N/A

Photography: N/A,

 

Produced by Vogt Media

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