Teen Parenting Expert’s Tip of the Month – April

Are You Laughing Enough?

By Barbara McRae, MCC

A few days ago I attended a Laughter Workshop sponsored by the American Society of Training and Development (ASTD). For years laughter work-shops were targeted for cancer patients; now these programs aren’t just for those with chronic pain but for all of us at the workplace and within the family unit. And why not?

Laughter isn’t just good medicine; it’s preventive medicine!

Did you know that kids do it 150-200 times a day? Adults only laugh 10-15 times. Somewhere during our transition into adulthood seriousness replaces laughter. This happens because few people realize the advances that medical and behavioral science have made in identifying why laughter is critical to our overall well-being.

Some examples are:

Laughter strengthens immune function
Laughter enhances bonding and trust with others
Laughter aids memory and supports learning
Laughter increases creativity and cooperation
Laughter decreases stress hormones.

The benefits of laughter have been compared to exercise. According to Dr. William Fry from Stanford University, one minute of laughter is equal to 10 minutes on the rowing machine! Why? Because laughter requires you to take in more oxygen; it stimulates heart and blood circulation much like aerobic exercise.

How often do you laugh? Do you laugh with your family? If you laugh often and with others, you are well ahead of the curve. If not, then consider a lack of laughter your warning sign!

Reclaiming your capacity to laugh is easier than you think. Each of us is wired to laugh. It’s automatic. Ever wonder what babies are laughing about? That’s because we often confuse laughter with humor. Laughter is instinctual; we laugh because we feel good. We don’t need humor in order to laugh, but it doesn’t hurt!

Laughing “at will” might seem silly at first, but you won’t care when you forget about your pain. You’ll find that no one and nothing can spoil your day. It’s also interesting to note that the body can’t distinguish between “simulated and spontaneous laughter.” The health benefits are the same! So, here’s to daily: ho, ho, ha, ha, ha while laughing out loud.

My best,
Campus Calm Parent/Teen Expert
P.S. See www.aath.org for more about healthy humor. For additional support to feel better
about our your challenges, refer to “The Positive Why” in “Coach Your Teen to Success.”

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