A laugh a day, keeps the doctor away?

Have been realising lately that I don’t get enough laughter in my life. I mean real laughter. The can’t stop, tears down the cheek, don’t look at me or I’ll start again sort of laughter. The ones that do you good.

So just before bed, Hubby and I are getting into the habit of watching a bit of stand up comedy. Leaving the stress of the day behind. If the science is anything to go by, laughing and being happier in general is the key to reversing the bodies ageing.

In 2010 a 7 year study by the Norwegian University of Science and technology, showed that people increased the probability of surviving into retirement by having a sense of humour.

American professor Norman Cousins, studied the biochemistry of human emotions. He had his own battle with a crippling illness and won, he said, by keeping a positive attitude and watching his favourite comedies daily. “I made the joyous discovery that ten minutes of genuine belly laughter had a anaesthetic effect and would give me at least two hours of pain free sleep”

Hunter “Patch” Adams. You’ve probably seen the movie played by Robin Williams. An American doctor, clown and founder of the Gesundheit Institute. He knew the value of humour and play. Essential to physical and emotional health and used it to help heal his patients.

The most recent research involves telomeres. Telomeres are found on the ends of DNA. They work like the ends of shoelaces and stop the DNA from unravelling. Telomeres protect genetic data and makes it possible for the cells to divide and renew. It was found that with a short telomere, the cell cannot divide and it dies. The American Physiological Society concluded that stressed, unhappy people had short telomeres, happy people had longer telomeres. Taking diet and exercise into account as well which contributed to overall happiness. (See Here for my other blog on telomeres)

So it makes sense to be happier, which is easier said than done. We can’t help what situations in life come our way. But maybe it’s how we deal with it that helps. For me, as I get older, I try not to rely on an outcome and being disappointed. To be more flexible. Trying to make the best of anything that happens. Also regularly doing things that make us happy.

Here is a list that helps me but more ideas are welcomed. Feel free to add what do to cheer yourself and others up!

Learning something new is the most exciting thing for me. I never really enjoyed school but now I have a choice. I love signing up for courses. Whether it’s language, art and craft, learning a musical instrument or human psychology, it doesn’t matter.

Get creative and play. Loads of colouring books on the magazine shelves and in book shops now. Knitting, jigsaw puzzles, rubiks cubes. Reread books or watch movies or cartoons you used to love as a kid as well.

Sports, exercise, yoga. Get fit and lower stress levels.

Invite friends around, Play old songs, dance, karaoke, board games, theme nights 70s, 80s etc.

Create a soundtrack for your life. Have you ever seen the movie 500 Days of Summer, where the main character Tom is dancing down the street to Hall & Oates song, You Make my Dreams? Do the same. Get together a list of tracks that you can plug yourself into and get on with your daily life. Make sure the songs are uplifting, cheer you up, even silly if you want. It will make you walk lighter.

Be with kids. The best of all. I love hanging out with my nieces and nephews. Now that they are teenagers, they are harder to get hold of but when I do it is the most fun I have all week. You can allow yourself to be silly. It makes you feel young.

Go on a date night with your partner. Not so much of the grown up dining experience, although that’s nice too. I mean the bowling, popcorn, fast food, cinema, like the old days. Even end up snogging in the back row if the mood strikes you.

 

Sources

Norman Cousins Wikipedia Here

Hunter ‘Patch’ Adams Gesundheit website Here

 

Buttoners, It’s your turn below. What makes you happy? What song makes you walk on air? (The cheesier the better for me!)

 

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