Laughter Could Save Your Life

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-by Matt Leedham

Last year, Jaime wrote about the power of positivity on your health. She shared the story of her grandfather who at the time was fighting cancer. While Grandpa Willis courageously battled, Jaime discovered some research proving that optimism can save your life.

On Friday, I was reminded of this. In the morning, I had the great opportunity to speak to Deloitte Consulting in Virginia on the topic of Stress Management. I stressed (no pun inteneded) the importance of choice management and specifically, choosing new thoughts in a high-stress environment.

After the workshop, I rushed home to meet 3 friends as we had planned a one-night excursion to Atlantic City. I hadn’t packed yet, and was feeling a little pressure – you might even say I was feeling stressed.

But as soon as we hopped in the car, there was laughter. Whether we were recounting funny stories of the past week, or simply ripping on each other like guys do, I found myself laughing. I noticed how much better I felt immediately.

Our primary purpose for going to Atlantic City was to see Bill Burr. Bill was on the Chappelle Show and has hosted his own HBO special. He’s hilarious – probably my favorite comedian right now. After an hour with Bill on the stage, I was in a great mood!

On the ride home, I thought, there has to be something to this laughter thing, right? I mean, I was always told that “laughter is the best medicine.”

As it turns out, laughter helps you oxygenate the cells in your body, resulting in lower blood pressure, reducing pain levels, and even helping your cholesterol. According to research, you’re actually changing your brain chemistry to feel better, and are halting the production of chemicals that make you feel anxious and tense.

And the crazy thing is, you don’t have to laugh spontaneously. It actually works the same even if you fake it. Seriously!

Check out this new phenomenon that’s catching on around the globe. It’s called Laughter Yoga (or Laughter Therapy). Laughter Clubs are popping up all over the place. Do they work? I’m not sure, but after watching a few videos on YouTube, I feel fantastic!


What do you think? Is laughter something that helps you reduce stress? Ever try to be intentional with your laughter to live more stress free?


P.S. Grandpa Willis has since left us, but his spirit lives on with all who remember his positive impact.


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