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  • Writer's pictureThe Sapps

Laughter. Your Mental Medicine!

Have you laughed today?

What’s a panda’s biggest life regret?

Never had a selfie in color.

Why are pandas always scared?

Because of the bamBOO.

Guffaws. Snorts. Giggles...and Groaners! No matter how you laugh, did you know those bits of laughter are a great release for life's stressors, physical tension, and mindset?

Since I've gone back to teaching full time and Donnie's holding down the business fort on his own, life's demands have certainly positioned themselves front and center. There's no getting around them. Life can get a bit stressful and at the end of the day and week, we are tired. I'm sure you can relate!

All of you have your own unique stressors. But one thing you can do is choose how you respond. I've noticed over the past few months, oddly enough, the more Donnie's and my life demands increase, the more we have been laughing! From me groaning and snickering at Donnie's jokes or us laughing and dancing badly to the radio when a great song comes on, we smile, laugh and take in the moment. Sometimes we lie there just looking at each, and we'll just break out in laughter! What a great feeling.

I think we are wise enough now to know there's a time when you shouldn't let your responsibilities take over and wear you down. We are cautious not to take life too seriously and make sure to be grateful for all that we have.

Then, I wondered: Are we laughing more to break the stress of daily life?

As I began researching the concept of laughter and stress relief, the more validation I found that, indeed, laughter is what the doctors order!

According to the Mayo Clinic, laughter is a great release of stress both mentally and physically. It has both short term and long term benefits. Here's what they report:

Short-term benefits of laughter:

  • Stimulate many organs. Laughter enhances your intake of oxygen-rich air, stimulates your heart, lungs and muscles, and increases the endorphins that are released by your brain.

  • Activate and relieve your stress response. A rollicking laugh fires up and then cools down your stress response, and it can increase and then decrease your heart rate and blood pressure. The result? A good, relaxed feeling.

  • Soothe tension. Laughter can also stimulate circulation and aid muscle relaxation, both of which can help reduce some of the physical symptoms of stress.

Long-term benefits of laughter:

  • Improve your immune system. Negative thoughts manifest into chemical reactions that can affect your body by bringing more stress into your system and decreasing your immunity. By contrast, positive thoughts can actually release neuropeptides that help fight stress and potentially more-serious illnesses.

  • Relieve pain. Laughter may ease pain by causing the body to produce its own natural painkillers.

  • Increase personal satisfaction. Laughter can also make it easier to cope with difficult situations. It also helps you connect with other people.

  • Improve your mood. Many people experience depression, sometimes due to chronic illnesses. Laughter can help lessen your stress, depression and anxiety and may make you feel happier. It can also improve your self-esteem.

The Mayo Clinic also states that having a sense of humor can be developed (if you don't have a very good one).

  • Put humor on your horizon. Find a few simple items, such as photos, greeting cards or comic strips, that make you chuckle. Then hang them up at home or in your office, or collect them in a file or notebook. Keep funny movies, TV shows, books, magazines or comedy videos on hand for when you need an added humor boost. Look online at joke websites or silly videos. Listen to humorous podcasts. Go to a comedy club.

  • Laugh and the world laughs with you. Find a way to laugh about your own situations and watch your stress begin to fade away. Even if it feels forced at first, practice laughing. It does your body good. Consider trying laughter yoga. In laughter yoga, people practice laughter as a group. Laughter is forced at first, but it can soon turn into spontaneous laughter.

  • Share a laugh. Make it a habit to spend time with friends who make you laugh. And then return the favor by sharing funny stories or jokes with those around you.

  • Knock, knock. Browse through your local bookstore or library's selection of joke books and add a few jokes to your list that you can share with friends.

  • Know what isn't funny. Don't laugh at the expense of others. Some forms of humor aren't appropriate. Use your best judgment to discern a good joke from a bad or hurtful one.

Literally, laughter is good medicine. It helps us both physically and mentally. It's nice to know that something so natural to our human nature is so accessible...even for just a moment. Those little moments build on one another, and before you know it, you may find yourself being a happier person despite life's stressors and demands.

A panda walks into a bar...

A panda walks into a bar. He orders a sandwich, eats it, then draws a gun and fires two shots in the air. "Why? Why are you behaving in this strange, un-panda-like fashion?" asks the confused waiter, as the panda walks towards the exit.

The panda produces a badly punctuated wildlife manual and tosses it over his shoulder. "I'm a panda," he says, at the door. "Look it up." The waiter turns to the relevant entry and, sure enough, finds an explanation. "Panda: Large black-and-white bear-like mammal, native to China. Eats, shoots and leaves."

(As an English teacher, I love this. Punctuation matters!)

Here's another fun bonus for you.

Click the link, smile, and enjoy pure cuteness and giggles right here!

At Sapp's Fitness Garage, we believe that fitness is a state of mind. There's a strong mind-body connection that affects us in every aspect of our lives. When our minds are relieved of stress, so are our bodies. When our minds are positive, our bodies reap the benefits. Find a way to laugh!


Believe in yourself and you're halfway there!

The Sapps

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