Laughing Your Way To Better Health

Laughing Your Way To Better Health

Don’t be shy. You can check out my Laugh Long and Prosper podcast on Spotify or Soundcloud.

I never thought I was an athletic person. I hated exercising. I figured, what’s the purpose of working out? To increase your heart rate? Personally, I find driving the wrong way against rush hour traffic really works up a sweat. JUST kidding. Hey, I’m here all week, try the veal.

 

No, I really do hate working out. I’m not a gym rat. However, I do like to walk. I like to take my brain for a walk about an hour every day. There is a Latin quote- often attributed to St. Augustine- that translated means “It is solved by walking.” It is used to refer to a problem that is solved by a practical experiment. I believe that when I start thinking too much, walking is the practical experiment that gets me out of my head. I feel healthier, more productive and creative when I return from a walk.

 

However, I realize that not everybody might have the time or be physically able to walk once a day for an hour. So, I started to research some lazy ways to work out. I was happy to stumble upon the psychological and physical benefits of laughter.

 

In 1969, William Fry, a leading Stanford University researcher in the psychology of laughter, discovered that laughing 200 times could burn as many calories as rowing for ten minutes.

Apparently, when we laugh, we work our six packs! Yay!

 

Dr. Helen Pilcher, a comedian with a PhD in biology, notes that uncontrollable laughter burns 120 calories per hour – the same as if we were walking. Geez, why am I even walking??

 

 

MORE HOLISTIC HAHA

 

Laughter creates happy chemistry in our bodies. Our immune, respiratory and circulatory systems all reap the rewards. Researchers at the University of Maryland found that when participants laughed over and over during a funny experiment, their circulation improved by 22 percent.

 

Laughter also increases our aerobic activity. While laughing, we take in more oxygen to our body and brain. Afterwards, we feel mentally and physically invigorated.

 

Professor Duncan Geddes, a consultant in respiratory medicine at the Royal Brompton Hospital in London, says that laughter stimulates the body’s defense mechanism, decreases pain and improves recovery times. Laughter releases chemicals in our brain cells called endorphins. Endorphins are natural pain killers.

 

Geddes observed that laughter helps fight diseases like allergies, arthritis, asthma, backache, bronchitis, depression, diabetes, fibromyalgia, heart disease, hypertension and migraines.

Research at Oxford University also showed that laughter in participants improved tolerance to pain and lowered blood pressure.

 

The effects of laughter are phenomenal. Researchers at Loma Linda University in California performed a groundbreaking experiment using laughter. They took a group of participants and divided the group in two. They showed funny videos to one group and tourist videos to the other. The researchers then took samples of immune cells from each group and mixed them with cancer cells to see how each sample attacked the disease. The immune cells from the laughing group were more successful at fighting the disease than the immune cells from the group that wasn’t laughing!

 

Of course, skeptics are going to say, “Hey Jude, are you recommending laughter instead of lunges? Good try funny lady.”

Dr. Michael Miller from the University of Maryland Medical Center might agree with you.

Dr. Miller doesn’t recommend laughing instead of exercising but he does recommend that you try to laugh every day.

That, I wholeheartedly agree with! As Peter Ustinov once said, “Comedy is simply a funny way of being serious.”

On that note, please folks, I’m begging you – laugh long and prosper!

Judy-Croon-laugh-long-pro$per-sig-logo

stand-up-in-10-steps-by-judy-croon-canadas-keynote-humorist

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hey Brain, Is Your Pilot Or Flight Attendant Talking To You?

Hey Brain, Is Your Pilot Or Flight Attendant Talking To You?

At the beginning of the year, I started with 12 resolutions – one for each month. Then COVID-19 struck. My journal became more about coping during a pandemic vs a ‘things to do’ blog.

I have to admit that, like everyone else, I freaked out.

Conferences and comedy clubs were shut down. I know this is nothing compared to what a lot of people are dealing with but for me, it was my way of life for many years.

As I faced the abyss of unknowing, a very obvious answer smacked me right in the face. What was I teaching others for years??? ‘Relieving stress with HUMOUR’!!! Uh- should I not take my own advice??  So, I found myself leaning on all the funny people around me.  Yes, the humour was dark at times but I know now that that was all part of our right, bright, creative brains trying to get us to calm down.

Laughter is a great way to trigger our right, bright, creative brain and parasympathetic nervous system.  Our parasympathetic nervous system is the flight attendant that tells your body to calm the hell down, put your oxygen mask on and breathe as the left brain, sympathetic nervous system pilot tries to land the plane.

We would be nowhere without both of them.

Humour is a great button to hit to ask for help from our flight attendant. So is gratitude. Gratitude also triggers our parasympathetic nervous system.

When we say thank- you to our flight attendant for our free pretzels, we have a better chance of staying in our right, bright, creative brain than when we start screaming about having to pay five bucks for Pringles.

I was in a ‘minor’ automotive altercation this month. My left-brain pilot got me safely to the side of the road. My right- brain flight attendant said, “Stay calm, don’t freak out. Aren’t you grateful that you are safe?”

By staying calm, my right- brain guided me to summon two angels (CAA and my mechanic). Everything worked out and in a couple days, I was back in the pilot’s seat.

Yes, temporarily the skies were dark. Comedy clubs and conferences were shut down.

Again, my right-brain flight attendant said aren’t you grateful that you are safe? Aren’t you grateful for all the work that you’ve had in the past?  Also, ma’am, can you please stop crying hysterically and kicking the back of that baby’s chair?

I did all of the above. I stopped crying. I stopped kicking. I expressed gratitude and that baby is part of my act now.

All of the work in the past lead to new and former clients (who were as unsure about the rocky horizon as I was) asking me to bring some relief in the form of my presentation- virtually.

Left brain or right brain, young or old, economy or business class – we always have a choice.

Panic and run through the aisles or put on your mask (which means SO much more nowadays) and breathe and, oh yeah, don’t forget to laugh.

Until next time, I’m your pilot AND flight attendant, Judy Croon.

Laugh long and prosper.

Judy-Croon-laugh-long-pro$per-sig-logo

Join Laugh Long and Pro$per™

Your monthly dose from Canada's Keynote Humourist 

We respect your privacy. Sharing your email is NOT an option.