Dr. Amit Sood is the Chair of the Mayo Clinic Mind Body Initiative and Director of research and practice at Mayo Clinic’s Complementary and Integrative Medicine Program. An expert on mind and body, Dr. Sood offers insights into human stress, well-being, resiliency, and happiness. Subscribe to Dr. Sood’s mailing list.
Dr. Sood addresses the fact that laughter has a great health benefit.
Laughter evolved to defuse tension, improve social connection, and create bonding. When we laugh with others, we send the message, “I like you, and I am willing to play with you.” Hearts that laugh together, beat together.
Research shows laughter provides a good physical workout, generates mental relaxation, lowers blood pressure and pain, and even improves immunity. You’re thirty times more likely to laugh in good company than alone. Further, the more you laugh with others rather than at someone, the greater the health benefit.
I like to laugh with others. I am embarrassed to accept that I have also sometimes laughed at others. I have noticed irrationality and silly mistakes in others and have laughed at those. Yet I don’t like anyone laughing at me.
I have a choice. I could be stiff and defensive. I could thwart any attempt of others to laugh at me. Or I could learn to laugh at myself. I believe the latter is a healthier option.
When I laugh at myself, I get the same kick that I do when laughing at others. I am entertained without being unkind. It keeps me humble. It improves my relationships.
Laughing at myself thus is a true win-win situation. It expresses humility. I should learn to laugh at myself more often.
I should also make it a habit to laugh with and not laugh at. If I surround myself with kind, well-meaning people whom I love and trust, I will laugh more, and laugh more healthfully. In order to do that, I should become a person whom people love, trust, and feel safe to laugh with.
May love and laughter fill each corner of your home, today and forever.
Reprinted with permission of Dr. Amit Sood.