A recent survey by Japan’s Osaka University Graduate school of Medicine found that people who participated in hour-long, twice-a-month laughter or music sessions lowered their systolic blood pressure (the top number) by an average of five or six points over three months.

According to www.help-guide.org, laughter is good for your health and offers the fol-lowing benefits:

Physical Health Benefits:                                                                                                                             • Boosts immunity                                                                                                                                             • Lowers stress hormones                                                                                                                                • Decreases pain                                                                                                                                              • Relaxes your muscles                                                                                                                                   • Prevents heart disease

Mental Health Benefits:                                                                                                                                 • Adds joy and zest to life                                                                                                                                • Eases anxiety and fear                                                                                                                                 • Relieves stress                                                                                                                                              • Improves mood                                                                                                                                              • Enhances resilience

Social Benefits:                                                                                                                                             • Strengthens relationships                                                                                                                             • Attracts others to us                                                                                                                                      • Enhances teamwork                                                                                                                                      • Helps defuse conflict                                                                                                                                     • Promotes group bonding

Since many people live alone or in situations where laughter is not a regu-ar activity, in order to gain the benefits cited, you might need to create the op-portunity to laugh.                                                                • Watch a funny movie or TV show.                                                                                                                • Go to a comedy club.                                                                                                                                     • Read the funny pages.                                                                                                                                   • Seek out companionship with funny people.                                                                                                 • Share a good joke or a funny story.                                                                                                              • Check out your bookstore’s humor section.                                                                                                  • Host game night with friends.                                                                                                                       • Play with a pet.                                                                                                                                             • Got to a ‘Laughter Yoga” class.                                                                                                                      • Goof around with children.                                                                                                                            • Do something silly.                                                                                                                    07-20-11-laughing-granny.jpg                    • Make time for fun activities ( e.g. bowling, miniature golfing, karaoke).

You might also take yourself less seriously. Learn to laugh at yourself. Share your embarrassing moments. You might also laugh at times when normally you might respond in a different manner. Put a toy or funny plaque on your table to remind you to laugh. Watch how children deal with situations and emulate them.

Spending time with a friend can brighten the day of any individual, especially a senior. Since many seniors live alone or may have lost contact with their friends, they might be limited on who is available for fun-filled activities. In that case, hiring a caregiver can fill that void.

As laughter, humor and play become an integrated part of your life, your creativity will flourish and new discoveries for playing with friends, coworkers, acquaintances, and loved ones will occur to you daily. Humor takes you to a higher place where you can view the world from a more relaxed, positive, creative, joyful and balanced perspective.

Photo: As laughter, humor, and play become an integrated part of your life, your creativity will flourish and new dis-coveries for playing with friends, coworkers, acquain-tances, and loved ones will occur to you daily.

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