LOL RX: The Healing Power of Laughter
“Laughter is the best medicine,” but what are you even taking this medicine for?
From the desk of Bobby Jepson, EAP Clinician:
We experience a lot of emotions throughout the average day. Whether it be unbridled excitement within the last three minutes of your shift, or boiling anger over the ignorance of the driver that is driving slow in the left lane, most of us have probably felt like we have gone from 0-100 at some point in the past few days or week.
How often do you find yourself laughing? Not just a forced, obligatory laugh at a bad joke, but a strong laugh from the pit of your stomach? When you consume yourself with the endless stressors of life, humor often takes a back seat, almost as if you have not yet earned the right to be happy.
Joy and humor are not rewards to be withheld; they are emotions that are just as legitimate as the stress that you deal with on a daily basis. In fact, there are studies suggesting that taking the time to laugh and experience happiness can lead to a healthier life. According to Mayo Clinic, there is a correlation between your stress and a good laugh. An intense laugh intensifies your stress momentarily, then cools it down, resulting in reduced blood pressure and a lower heart rate. Additionally, your muscles become more relaxed due to circulation being stimulated. Mayo goes on to report that laughter counters the effects of stress on your immune system, releasing proteins known as neuropeptides that have the potential to fight serious illnesses.
From a young age, we are taught that mistakes are a natural part of the learning process, and we should not beat ourselves up over them. However, we should promote the importance of humor and happiness just as emphatically. Tough times may define us, but good times heal us.
If you are struggling to see the joys that life has to offer, contact your EAP and see how we can help you.
Call the EAP Access Line at (877) 252-8550.