Today concludes the handful of ways to improve our health and wellbeing following our new year quiz… and today we are looking at laughter and the little finger.
For clarification, the little finger or pinky finger is the smallest finger…
This little piggy went to market,
This little piggy stayed home,
This little piggy had roast beef
This little piggy had none,
And this little piggy cried wee wee wee all the way home
Wigglying and tickling my children’s little fingers and toes to this nursery rhyme resulted in hours of laughter in our house when my kids were babies, as we ran through the nursery rhyme in huge anticipation of getting to the little finger or toe, and the tickles that followed.
Although we had fun times and times of laughter including these, I didn’t really appreciate quite how much laughter is REALLY beneficial for all aspects of our health and wellbeing!
Laughter jiggles the organs in our body
Which releases hormones that relieve physical tension and stress. Laughter also releases our natural feel good Endorphin hormones that promote pain relief and feelings of wellbeing.
Laughter boosts the immune system
By decreasing the stress hormones and increasing the production of immune cells and infection fighting antibodies, which improves our natural resistance to infection and disease.
Laughter increases the blood flow to the heart
Not enough to be a complete replacement for physical activity, but enough that if you laugh often and regularly enough, you could prevent some heart disease and burn a few extra calories. There are studies that report people who laugh more live longer!
Laughing helps relaxation
Reduces stress and increases energy, meaning it is a great way to help recharge, focus and improve our mood.
The benefits and good feelings remain long after we stop laughing. It is difficult to remain angry, anxious or sad when you are laughing, so laughter can really help us navigate through sadness, challenges or losses.
Laughter helps us keep a more positive perspective
This helps us see our circumstances from a more realistic and manageable viewpoint, meaning we can think clearer, and can help us overcome and manage any negative or distressing emotions that overwhelm.
Laughter can help us navigate through difficult circumstances
Helping us find courage and strength by enabling us to overcome being overwhelmed and rise above the fight or flight responses.
Laughter strengthens relationships
And brings us closer together, which is great for all aspects of our health and wellbeing.
Laughter is contagious
Laughing on our own isn’t half as much fun as sharing what has made us laugh, and laughing can bring us closer to others by increasing emotional connections.
It is also a powerful tool for reducing tensions when emotions are running high, and can help us manage conflict or overcome disagreements It is probably worth remembering that what makes us laugh might not be the same as what makes someone else laugh! And that’s ok! We are all amazingly and uniquely different.
Quick wins for getting us all laughing more….
- Smile more and keep our palms up. Smiling towards others costs nothing but can really make a difference to someone’s day – and our day too, it even pre-disposes us to looking for opportunities for laughter.
- Adopt a posture of gratitude and make a list of to be thankful for.
- Join with others in laughing, by sharing our funny moments with friends or finding others who laugh easily and hang out with them.
- Create, share and seek out opportunities and other people to enjoy a laugh with.
- Learn to laugh at ourselves and don’t go a day without at least one laugh.
The only little health warning here is that it’s not good to laugh at someone else’s expense or in a private joke, whilst others spectate… this can cause the opposite effect for many.
Laughing is good for everyone, of every age, shape, size, gender, race, religion, colour or creed…
In laughing more, we can all improve so many aspects of our health and well being,
Adding both years to our life, and life to our years…
So … this little piggy…
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