Laughter really is the best medicine.

Hi, Welcome to this weeks blog.
I said a few weeks ago that I handled the current Covid-19 situation with humour. I knew a lot of people were worried and even scared, but I felt that the last thing they needed was for someone to keep reminding them that they were feeling anxious or stressed. I wanted to take their mind off of the situation so each day I posted an original funny picture or a corny gag to make people start their day with a smile. I didn’t take the decision lightly as I knew that people all around the world were suffering or sadly dying. However there was nothing that I could do to stop that, but I could make people smile and take their mind off of the situation, even if only for a short time. Turns out I was right. I continued to study the effects of laughter and I have compiled this list to show you just how much it helps.
They say that laughter is “the best medicine,” and as it turns out, there is some scientific truth to this assertion. Humour-associated laughter has numerous health benefits, so here are 10 reasons you should laugh it up.


LAUGHTER IS A SIGN OF GOODWILL TO ALL OTHERS.


Laughter may be unique to humans. Why do we do it? According to a 2010 study in BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine, laughter and smiling are generally intended as a message of good will. The authors extrapolate that there is a similar function in primates, who use facial expressions with bared teeth to suggest friendliness and sociability. They write, “Because some forms of smiling are voluntary and easily faked, laughter, which requires a more synergetic contraction of the wider musculature, is believed to have evolved in humans to express a secure, safe message to others.”

Day 5 I started going nuts.


LAUGHTER MAY REDUCE YOUR BLOOD PRESSURE.

High blood pressure (hypertension) is one of the most dangerous side effects of stress, as well as a huge risk factor for heart disease and stroke. However, it’s hard to be stressed when you’re laughing, so researchers have investigated whether laughter can bring blood pressure down. There are more than a few studies that show a reduction of blood pressure after laughter, such as a 2017 study in the Journal of Dental and Medical Research, where 40 patients undergoing hemodialysis listened to CDs of comic shows for 16 30-minute sessions over eight weeks, and saw a decrease in blood pressure.
After three months, the blood pressure readings significantly decreased overall by 5 mmHg among the laughers. People in the comparison group showed no change in blood pressure readings.


LAUGHTER CAN REDUCE ANXIETY AND OTHER NEGATIVE EMOTIONS.

A 1990 study in Psychological Reports looked at the effects of humorous laughter on threat-induced anxiety. Researchers led 53 college students to believe (falsely) that they were going to receive an electric shock after a waiting period.
Subjects in the experiment group listened to a humorous tape while waiting for their shock. The placebo group listened to a non-humorous tape, and the control group did not listen to any tape. The humour group reported that their anxiety decreased during the anticipatory period, and those with the highest self-reported level of sense of humour had the lowest reported anxiety.
Laughter therapy has also been shown to improve anxiety in patients with Parkinson’s disease, reduce anxiety and depression in nursing students, and improve optimism, self-esteem, and depression in menopausal women.
Laughter can act as positive coping mechanisms to help a person get through difficult times.

Day 11 off 100


LAUGHTER IS AN IMMUNE BOOSTER.


At the beginning of cold and flu season, it may be a good idea to practice some laughter therapy, as several studies have shown the immune boosting power of a chuckle. Watching a funny film or listening to a comedy podcast is great for the mind and body.


LAUGHTER MAY ACT AS A NATURAL ANTI-DEPRESSANT.


While nobody would recommend laughter in lieu of other treatment for depression, it has shown promise at lifting depressed moods. Patients in long-term care facilities often suffer from depression and poor sleep, so a 2017 study tested the effects of laughter therapy on 42 residents of two long-term care hospitals. The results were promising.
The laugher therapy, which the subjects undertook over eight sessions, for 40 minutes twice a week, included “singing funny songs, laughing for diversion, stretching, playing with hands and dance routines, laughing exercises, healthy clapping, and laughing aloud.”
The results showed reduced depression and general mood improvement as well as improved sleep in the experiment group compared to the control group.


YOU BREATHE BETTER AFTER LAUGHING.


It turns out that a good bout of deep belly laughter can lead to increased heart rate, respiratory rate, and oxygen consumption, which are similar to what happens during exercise. While a 2009 study in the International Journal of Humour Research found that these changes only last as long as the laughter itself, if you can laugh like that for 30 minutes to an hour, maybe you can skip the gym.

Took the Doctors advice.


LAUGHTER IS GOOD FOR YOUR CARDIOVASCULAR SYSTEM.


Your lungs aren’t the only organ that benefits from a great guffaw. A 2009 study in Medical Hypotheses found powerful benefits to the heart and cardiovascular system.
Study participants watched either a comedy like Only Fools and Horses or the bleak opening sequence of Saving Private Ryan, which is known to increase mental stress. They used a technique called brachial artery reactivity testing (BART), a form of ultrasound that looks at the brachial artery. Participants who watched the stressful movie experienced a 35 percent reduction in flow-mediated vasodilation (FMD, or how blood vessels dilate and contract); sluggish FMD is a risk factor for atherosclerosis. Meanwhile, the group that watched the funny scene saw a 22 percent increase in FMD, comparable to exercise. In short, laughing helped their blood flow better.
The Heart Association recommends laughter for a healthy heart, adding that research has shown laughter promotes reduced artery inflammation and increased production of HDL, or “good” cholesterol.


LAUGHTER CALMS STRESS HORMONES.

Humour, and by extension, laughter, stimulates multiple physiological systems that decrease levels of stress hormones, such as cortisol and epinephrine, and increase the activation of the dopamine-dispensing reward system of the brain, according to researchers of a 2017 study in Advances in Physiology Education. A 2003 study in Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine found that viewing a funny film decreased a wide variety of stress hormones.

I had company during isolation.


SOCIAL LAUGHTER CAN RELIEVE PAIN.

Laughter might be as good as some analgesics for pain, something early physicians seemed to understand. In the 14th century, French surgeon Henri de Mondeville used humour to distract patients from the pain of surgery and to help them during recovery.
More modern research has found that participants who watched comedy videos needed less pain medication than those who watched control videos. In a 2011 study published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society, over the course of six experiments using extreme cold as a pain-tolerance measure, researchers found that social laughter—laughter done in groups in a social context—elevates pain thresholds. The authors suggest, “These results can best be explained by the action of endorphins released by laughter.”


LAUGHING BURNS CALORIES.


As if all of these benefits aren’t a good enough reason to giggle every day, a 2014 study in the International Journal of Obesity found that laughter can burn calories. Researchers broke a group of 45 participants into two groups, half of whom watched film clips intended to evoke laughter for approximately 10 minutes, and half who watched film clips unlikely to stimulate laughter. Both groups were attached to a “calorimeter” that measured energy expenditure and heart rate. They determined that those who laughed during their viewing burned up to 10 calories in 10 minutes, as compared to those who did not laugh and did not burn any calories.
So turns out not only was I making people smile I was helping in all sorts of ways.
I got such positive feedback from Facebook friends and followers that I made a book which is now available from Amazon in Paperback Kindle and direct from me as an Ebook. Come on, you knew there had to be a plug in their somewhere. PS. Half the profits (if there are any, Please buy my book 🙂 ) will go to an NHS charity.

100 Days in isolation. Available NOW!

Over 200 jokes and original pictures, to keep you smiling long after this virus has gone.

Keep smiling
Until next week. Take care and stay safe.

Jon X

Hypnotherapy in Suffolk, Essex and Cambridge. and online via Zoom

Jon Adkin Author of ‘Can I Change?’ Available from Amazon.

Find me on You TubeFacebook and Instagram.

How did you handle the lockdown?

Hi, Welcome to this weeks blog.

This week I want to look at how we handled the lock down differently and what was best for you. When this all started. a lot of people went crazy, stockpiling toilet rolls, soap (what were you using before this happened?) and pasta. It all got a little mad and very selfish. Then as the weeks went on many realised that there was no need to stockpile and a sense of normality started to return, but not for all.

Stupidity was still infecting people. families who didn’t think the rules applied to them, and because of their actions this lock down has most probably continued longer than it needed to, had we all obeyed the rules.

So how did you handle it? What have you been doing as a family or alone that has got you through this period? Is there anything that you will continue to do once the restrictions have been lifted?

What did I do? Well I work in a very serious business dealing each day with many different issues, but I made a decision to get through this with humour. I took off my professional head each day just for an hour or two and I posted funny pictures, jokes and videos. I wanted to make people smile. I didn’t want to remind them that things were tough, or that they were feeling anxious. I wanted to make them happy and just for a moment forget about what was happening outside.

A Smile lights up your face.

So why did I take this approach?

Many see smiling simply as an involuntary response to things that bring you joy or laughter. While this observation is certainly true, what most people overlook is that smiling can be just as much a voluntary response as a conscious and powerful choice.

Countless scientific studies have confirmed that a genuine smile is generally considered attractive to others around us. Other studies have shed light on how the act of smiling can elevate your mood and the mood of those around you. Still. others have found a strong link between good health, longevity, and smiling. Most importantly, studies have shown​ that just the act of smiling (making the physical facial shapes and movements), whether the result of real joy or an act, can have both short- and long-term benefits on people’s health and wellbeing.

Still not convinced? Here are the top 10 reasons you should make a conscious effort to smile every day.

Smiling Makes Us Attractive

We are naturally drawn to people who smile. There is a real physical attraction factor linked to the act of smiling.

Not surprisingly, more severe or negative facial expressions like frowns, scowls, and grimaces actually work in the opposite manner, effectively pushing people away. Instead, use the attraction power of your smile to draw people in.2

Smiling Relieves Stress

Stress can permeate our entire being, and can really show up in our faces. Smiling not only helps to prevent us from looking tired, worn down, and overwhelmed but can actually help reduce stress

Believe it or not, smiling can reduce stress even if you don’t feel like smiling or even know that you’re smiling! When you are stressed, take the time to put on a smile. You and those around you will reap the benefits.

You feel better when you smile.

Smiling Elevates Our Mood

Next time you are feeling down, try putting on a smile. There’s a good chance your mood will change for the better. Smiling can trick the body into helping you elevate your mood because the physical act of smiling actually activates neural messaging in your brain.

A simple smile can trigger the release of neural communication boosting neuropeptides as well as mood-boosting neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin. Think of smiling like a natural anti-depressant.

Smiling Is Contagious

How many smiles have been described as having the power to lighten up the room? While it is certainly a beautiful sentiment, it carries a hint of truth. Smiling not only has the power to elevate your mood, but it can also change the moods of others and make things happier.

The part of your brain that is responsible for your controlling the facial expression of smiling is an unconscious automatic response area. Meaning that smiling can be completely unconscious, particularly when it comes to our habit of mimicking another person’s smile. Yes, it is scientifically proven that smiles are “contagious!”

Smiling Boosts Your Immune System

Smiling can also boost your overall health. The act of smiling actually helps the human immune system to function more effectively. It is thought that when you smile, immune function improves because you are more relaxed (thanks to the release of certain neurotransmitters).

In addition to taking precautions like washing your hands, why not try to prevent the cold and flu by smiling?

A Smile can relieve stress.

Smiling Lowers Your Blood Pressure

When you smile, there is a measurable reduction in your blood pressure. Give it a try if you have a blood pressure monitor at home.

Sit for a few minutes, take a reading. Then smile for a minute and take another reading while still smiling. Do you notice a difference?

Smiling Makes Us Feel Good

Studies have shown that smiling releases endorphins, natural painkillers, and serotonin. Together these three neurotransmitters make us feel good from head to toe.

Not only do these natural chemicals elevate your mood, but they also relax your body and reduce physical pain. Smiling is a natural drug.

Smiling Makes You Look Younger

Not only can smiling make you more attractive it can also make you look more youthful. The muscles we use to smile also lift the face, making a person appear younger.

So instead of opting for a face lift, just try smiling your way through the day—you’ll look younger and feel better.

Say cheese

Smiling Makes You Seem Successful

Studies have shown that people who smile regularly appear more confident, are more likely to be promoted, and are more likely to be approached.

Try putting on a smile at meetings and business appointments. You might find that people react to you differently.

Smiling Helps You Stay Positive

Try this test: Smile. Now try to think of something negative without losing the smile. It’s hard, isn’t it?

Even when a smile feels unnatural or forced, it still sends the brain and ultimately the rest of our body the message that “Life is Good!” Stay away from depression, stress, and worry by smiling

Fake It Till You Make It


In other words, smiling can trick your brain into believing you’re happy which can then spur actual feelings of happiness. But it doesn’t end there. It has been shown “over and over again” that depression weakens your immune system, while happiness on the other hand has been shown to boost our body’s resistance.

What’s crazy is that just the physical act of smiling can make a difference in building your immunity. “When you smile, the brain sees the muscle [activity] and assumes that humor is happening.”

In a sense, the brain is a sucker for a grin. It doesn’t bother to sort out whether you’re smiling because you’re genuinely joyous, or because you’re just pretending.

Even forcing a fake smile can legitimately reduce stress and lower your heart rate, and there are plenty more studies out there to make you smile (or at least, serve as reference for why you should). Researchers at the University of Kansas published findings that smiling helps reduce the body’s response to stress and lower heart rate in tense situations; another study linked smiling to lower blood pressure, while yet another suggests that smiling leads to longevity

So that’s why I did what I did and am still doing. for the fuddy duddys that were saying I wasn’t being very professional. You are entitled to your opinion, but in my view I was helping people in the best way that I knew how.

If I have made you smile with one of my posts on Facebook or lifted your spirits even if only for a moment. Let me know.

Normal service will resume soon. In the meantime. keep smiling, stay safe and look after yourselces.

Until next week.

Best wishes

Jon X

Hypnotherapy in Suffolk, Essex and Cambridge.

Jon Adkin Author of ‘Can I Change?’ Available from Amazon.

Find me on You TubeFacebook and Instagram.