Caregivers: It’s OK to Laugh!
Laughter is great medicine for your mind and body.
Through humor and laughter, caregivers can help overcome challenges and deal with difficult situations, like caring for a family member with a chronic or life-limiting illness. In fact, scientific research shows that laughter provides important short and long-term physical, emotional and social benefits:
- Strengthens our connection to others, and will help family members and friends enjoy special time together
- Lowers stress hormones, including cortisol and epinephrine, and protects against damage from stress by releasing beneficial endorphins.
- Boosts mood.
- Diminishes pain by causing the body to produce natural pain killers.
- May help improve the immune system by increasing the number of antibody-producing cells.
- Protects the heart by improving function of blood vessels and by increasing blood flow. The American Heart Association has reported that the positive effects of laughter may last 24 hours!
- Helps diffuse anger and our ability to moving on from conflict and confrontation.
It’s OK to let yourself feel good without feeling guilty, even while coping with a serious situation. Try to laugh every day, even if it feels forced or unnatural. Bring humor into your daily life through movies, TV shows, books, photos, comic books, YouTube videos, jokes, a visit to a comedy club, or by spending time with friends and family who bring joy and make you smile. Through the magic of laughter, you can improve your health, reduce care-taker stress, and create happy, memorable moments with loved ones.