Have you ever felt yourself about to bubble over with uncontrollable laughter, at the most inopportune moment – in a crowded elevator, a quiet waiting room, or a religious service? While there are, of course, times when we need to suppress the silliness, author Jane Heller explains that, “Humor can keep us balanced, even in the grimmest of times. It reminds us that despite illness and disability, there are moments of real joy in life and we need to embrace them.”
The health benefits of laughter are phenomenal, including:
- Releasing endorphins that ease tension
- Strengthening brain connectivity
- Providing a social boost
- Relieving pain
- Enhancing the immune system
- Improving mood
- Protecting the heart from cardiovascular disease
- Stimulating circulation and muscle relaxation, both of which help alleviate stress
- And many more
Although there’s nothing funny about receiving a difficult diagnosis in a loved one, there are ways to maintain an underlying sense of positivity that can lead to more opportunities for laughter:
- Be intentional about placing snippets of humor around your home/office, such as a favorite comic strip, meme, funny photos, etc.
- Look into a laughter yoga class – yes, there really is such a thing!
- Modify your reading material and TV viewing to incorporate more lightheartedness. Include joke books – or browse the internet for new jokes to add to your repertoire.
- Spend time with family and friends who lift your spirits. Reminisce over past memories together that make you laugh, and create new ones!
- Learn to laugh at yourself, changing your internal dialogue from reprimands for mistakes to the relief in realizing we’re all human.
Interestingly, even if you don’t feel like laughing, the health benefits of laughter can still be achieved through faking or forcing yourself to do so, according to certified health coach Nancy Kalish.
Home Sweet Home In-Home Care’s Portage caregivers help bring joy and laughter to seniors and respite to their families each and every day. Our friendly senior companions spend quality time with older adults, engaging in conversations, games, puzzles, exercise, fun outings, and of course, plenty of laughter. And with our full range of in-home care services, such as meal preparation, housework, and tending to personal care needs, family caregivers and the seniors they love are able to spend more high quality time simply enjoying each other’s company. Let us help brighten your world! Call our Kalamazoo/Portage senior services team at (269) 373-5444 any time to learn more and to arrange for your free in-home consultation. To learn more about all of the other areas we serve in southwest Michigan, please visit our Service Area page or call (269) 763-5350 in Paw Paw, (269) 849-9252 in St. Joseph or (269) 963-9888 in Battle Creek.