Laughter is the best medicine, or so we’ve heard all our lives — and it turns out it is true!
There are real positive benefits to our health from laughter, all without the need to pay a premium, fill out a form or even make an appointment.
Maybe it is the physical movement we get when we laugh, the way it involves all our muscles, that helps make us healthier.
It could be the positive mental outlook that we just can’t help but have when we laugh that makes us feel better physically too.
It could be both or something altogether different — but it really doesn’t matter as long as it works!
As we begin a new year, one resolution we can all make and keep as the year marches on is laughing more!
Benefits of Laughter
There are many real benefits we get from simply laughing. These are but a few.
- Stretching muscles in our cheeks, mouth, diaphragm, arms, legs and belly
- Taking deeper breaths and getting oxygen to all the cells of our body
- Elevated heart rate and improved blood flow
- Strong laughter can burn calories
- As we de-stress, our immune system gets a natural boost
- As we relax, our sleep can be better
- Because of its social nature, we strengthen our relationships with others
- Improved mental attitude and lessened depression
Can you think of more? How do you feel when you laugh?
Activities That Will Make You Laugh
We all agree, laughing is better than crying, especially for your health. Here are a few ideas that can get you and your senior belly laughing every day!
- Jokes – Tell each other a joke that you already know, has made you laugh in the past, a family joke or a new joke from a book that gives you one a day to share. Any kind of joke will do from knock knock jokes or standbys like “why was six scared of seven”? A: “Because seven “ate” nine.” Set up a specific time of the day such as lunchtime or afternoon when you always tell a joke to allow your senior time to think of one or expect one from your then sprinkle them in throughout the day to keep humor flowing.
- Watch a funny movie – Find your favorite funny movies, classic or new ones that give you many belly laughs. A few suggestions include “The Nutty Professor”, “Adam’s Rib”, “Blazing Saddles”, ‘Some Like It Hot” or any of the “Marx Brothers” films. Find ones your senior especially enjoys either at the store, library or online rentals.
- Find a favorite comedic TV program – There are many funny TV shows that you can watch on some channels, on DVD or via online streaming. A few your senior may enjoy are M*A*S*H, I Love Lucy, The Honeymooners, Andy Griffith, Seinfeld or a favorite game show.
- Think of something funny and share it – Your senior’s have many life stories that will amuse. Ask leading questions to spark their memories such as tell me about the time you and mom went camping or remember when we drove cross country in the old station wagon?
- Have a smile contest – See who can smile the longest, the biggest, the crookedest or anything you can imagine that will get the laughter flowing.
- Make funny faces – Who doesn’t love watching other people look silly? I bet your senior can make a good funny face. Take a picture, maybe even a selfie, and share it with others or use it to start a story (see #4) to share next week.
- Laugh at yourself – We all do things that are really funny. Support an environment where your senior feels comfortable to laugh at your or him or herself whenever the mood strikes them. Did you look silly when you dropped the towel or when you were struggling to get the dog to do something like put on the leash? There are any number of situations that arise every day that can bring on the giggles.
Healthy Sense of Humor
Aging doesn’t diminish our sense of humor. We just have to find the right vehicle to tickle our senior’s funny bones.
We hope this year you and your senior will resolve to include laughter into your daily routine in the New Year and gain the benefits to your health!
Turns out the term “healthy sense of humor” really isn’t a joke!
Hey, have you heard the one about….