The well-known adage “Laughter is the best medicine” is not just an old wives’ tale. Studies show laughter to have many health benefits. A few of those benefits include:
- Help with short-term memory retention
- Benefits heart health
- Reduces mental stress
- Provides a better quality of life
- Provides natural pain relief
- Boosts immunity
- Improves your mood
- Lowers the levels of cortisol (a stress hormone) in your body
- Aids muscle relaxation
- Stimulates organs for greater function
Simply put, people who laugh more tend to be healthier. As with exercise, it’s never too late to start. The studies that showed the benefits of laughter also recommended incorporating laughter into your daily activities. Below are some tips about how to do that.
Funny Television Shows
Too much television promotes a sedentary lifestyle, which has negative health effects, but one or two TV shows that make you laugh each day will counteract the fact that you were sitting still while watching. Cable television is always showing reruns. Find an old favorite you liked (Golden Girls, The Odd Couple, Mary Tyler Moore) and watch a rerun each day.
You could also branch out and watch something new. America’s Funniest Videos always have cute and funny animal or baby clips that elicit a giggle. The Ellen Show is usually good for a laugh or two. Even Family Feud has the potential to make you chuckle. You just never know what Steve Harvey will say. It doesn’t matter what you watch so long as it makes you laugh out loud.
Get together with friends every so often and relate funny stories from your past (or your present if you’ve got one). If you can’t manage to do that everyday, find another source of funny stories, too. Maybe there’s a newspaper column you enjoy (cue Dave Barry) or an anthology of humorous stories you could read (something like a Chicken Soup for Your Funny Bone type book).
See You in the Funny Papers
Look through the newspaper for more than obituaries and the daily crossword puzzle. Take the time to read the comic strips and chuckle to yourself. If you’re already getting the newspaper, this is a easy way to add laughter to your life.
Don’t Be Afraid to Laugh at Yourself
Just because you’re of retirement age doesn’t mean you have to lose your sense of humor. Sometimes you’ve just got to laugh at yourself. Did you put on two different colored shoes this morning? Call a friend and laugh about it together. Did the dog chew on your dentures? Laugh about how they look wearing your teeth (and then clean those teeth thoroughly!). Did you look all over the house this morning for your reading glasses only to discover them hanging around your neck? Laugh it off. That’s not a senior moment; that’s human nature.
If you or a senior you know struggles to laugh alone and needs a little help at home, look into elder care services in Westlake Village. Caregivers can be a great source of companionship and humorous material.