As you may have heard the proverb, “laughter is the best medicine,” and you may also know the benefits of spending time with family and friends. However, have you thought of combining these two behaviors? Laughter actually results in chemical changes in your body which has a positive influence on blood flow, immune response, blood sugar levels (diabetes alert!), relaxation and sleep. Did you know that 10-15 minutes of laughter actually burns 50 calories? Are you trying to lose holiday pounds? Could laughter be the solution to your diet woes? In addition, the health benefits of social support from family and friends include having a sense of belonging, increased sense of self-worth and feelings of security. Therefore, spending time laughing and having fun with family and friends can double the positive impact on your health status while improving your mood as well.
This past weekend, I went to Tampa, Florida for Valentine’s Day weekend, where the Straz Center for the Performing Arts Center is producing the musical “First Date.” It is a 96 minute show full of laughter that was especially enjoyable since it was also a great opportunity to share the evening with family and friends. We laughed throughout the show and even after as we discussed the funniest parts of the show. At the end of the evening, there was a sense of well-being and contentment. Laughter and socialization truly are the best medicine, particularly for those of us with chronic illnesses. Do you think you can add a bit of laughter and socialization into your routine? I assure you that you will be glad you did!