During the CMWN Peer Training * class we ask students to present on a wellness tool they use. At our most recent class, one of our students chose laughter, a free and wonderful tool.
Did you know that children laugh 300 to 500 times a day, but that adults only laugh about 15 times a day? You might think, “What does it matter? We’re not kids anymore.” But laughter and humor have a positive impact on our health.
According to the Mayo Clinic, laughter improves our immune response, eases pain, and enhances our intake of oxygen which promotes nourishment to the internal organs. Laughter also helps connect us to others, cope with challenging situations, and reduce depression and anxiety.
So how can we get more laughter in our lives? With intention! Choosing to laugh more is an intentional process. Pay attention to what you currently focus on. Certainly we want to be good citizens and aware of what is happening in the world, but we need to balance that with taking care or ourselves. We can change up our books, movies, videos, and on line searching to include more fun and funny. Go to a comedy club. Explore joke websites. Watch stand-up comedians on You Tube.
Look into Laughter Yoga, originally developed by India physician Madan Kataria. Groups meet with a facilitator and practice activities that invoke laughter. If you are in Denver, check out this Denver Laughter Yoga group.
Read the comics. Even if you don’t get the newspaper, the comics are available on line. And don’t forget about all those silly cat videos. They could help improve your health!
And this might be common sense, but the Mayo Clinic issues one word of warning. Don’t engage in humor that makes fun of others. It’s negative and counterproductive. Good laughter helps connect us and makes us genuinely feel better.
* Peer Specialists/Coaches are individuals with lived experience of a mental health and/or substance use condition who are living in recovery. They assist others as mentors. CMWN provides Peer Training three times a year. For dates and information about the 2017 training, contact [email protected]