BRAIN HEALTH | 4.17.2017 | BY ABBIE ELDRIGE, MS, CCC-SLP
When was the last time you laughed? What did it feel like? What kinds of things bring about that spark of joy in your life?
It can be easy to get swept up in the seriousness of doing all of the right things to care for your brain and body...which can make it easy to forget to allow room for the lighter side of life. April is National Humor Month, and we are celebrating by slowing down, smiling, and sharing the many reasons why laughter should be a part of your daily health regimen.
Think about what it feels like when you laugh, smile or really enjoy an experience. You may feel relaxed, optimistic and more deeply connected to the people around you. You may be less anxious and even feel less pain! While you are experiencing these pleasant physical and emotional sensations, your brain and body are undergoing positive physiological changes, as well, including boosts to the immune system, increased blood flow and release of those wonderful feel-good endorphins (the body’s natural neurochemicals involved in blocking pain and controlling emotions).
We may not all be natural comedians, but there are lots of opportunities to find humor and joy throughout the day. Surround yourself with people that are happy and make you laugh. Find the humor (rather than the frustration) in minor mishaps throughout the day. Notice the impact of sharing a smile or a joke with others...it’s contagious! And know that loving a good laugh is loving your brain!
Stay tuned for next week’s tip for a closer look at the role of laughter in rehabilitation and the healing journey! Until then, spend time with your funny friends, watch a comedy or give yourself permission to have a giggle or a good belly laugh!