Research finds laughter therapy may increase life satisfaction

Key points

  • Laughter therapy has many benefits, including reducing loneliness, pain, anxiety and insomnia.
  • In many studies on the elderly, laughter therapy has been proven to be a beneficial aspect of maintaining health.
  • Try laughter yoga, watch interesting things, or laugh with your loved ones and feel your own benefits.

People say laughter is the best medicine for good reasons.In a recent study Rehabilitation nursing, Researchers studied the changes in life satisfaction and loneliness in elderly nursing homes after laughter therapy.

Each of the 31 participants received laughter therapy twice a week for six weeks, while the same number of control groups received only routine care. At the end of the six weeks, people taking laughter therapy reported less loneliness than the control group.

“Elderly people, especially in Western cultures, find themselves living in assisted living centers or nursing homes and are prone to often feel lonely and depressed, which often leads to physical weakness,” said Jenna Pascual, a certified laugh yoga teacher.

“Laughter helps provide interpersonal and emotional bonds, and is one of the most powerful tools to combat depression and loneliness.”

What is laughter therapy?

Laughter therapy is a low-key, easy-to-use option that you can practice in many ways.

Pascual presides over small groups and one-on-one meetings with senior citizens. She first guides people to warm up to adapt to the stimulating laughter. These may include deep breathing exercises, clapping and light stretching exercises, and laughter, as well as calling and responding to laughter.

She then turns to laughter around a theme (such as a Hawaiian beach party or Star Wars), combining laughter with small movements while sitting or standing. She encouraged participants to release their inner children.

Jenna Pascual, Certified Laughter Yoga Instructor

Laughter helps provide interpersonal and emotional bonds, and is one of the most powerful tools to combat depression and loneliness.

— Jenna Pascual, Certified Laughter Yoga Instructor

Many forms of laughter therapy are free and available to everyone. “Laughter therapy is ideal for people who may not be able to exercise, such as people with disabilities, people with physical disabilities, or people who need other ways to increase their heart rate,” licensed marriage and family therapist Katie Ziskind (Katie Ziskind) said. Owner of Wisdom Within Counseling. Pascual also works with people in wheelchairs or hospital beds.

Try out laughter therapy for yourself by listening to or watching comedy, performing laughter yoga therapy, or sharing laughter with your loved ones.

Benefits of laughter therapy

Rehabilitation careThe study is a long-term study, confirming that laughter can improve the happiness of the elderly.In a 2015 study International Journal of Nursing and MidwiferyFor 6 weeks, people 60 years of age or older in Iranian retirement centers will attend 90-minute laughter therapy sessions twice a week. At the end of the experiment, the overall health of the participants had improved, and anxiety and insomnia had decreased.

In addition to fighting loneliness, laughter therapy also brings a wide range of benefits.In a 2016 study Nursing disclosureIn the elderly daycare center, the elderly receive laughter therapy in the form of stand-up comedy, once a week for four weeks. Participants experienced a decrease in systolic blood pressure, heart rate, and depression, as well as an increase in serotonin concentration and social skills.

Laughter therapy can also relieve pain.In a 2019 study Public Library One Among middle-aged cancer patients in Japan, the participants did a laugh yoga routine and then watched a traditional Japanese oral comedy performance. After completing four treatments in seven weeks, those who completed both laughter therapies had better cognitive function and less pain than the control group.

Katie Siskind, LMFT

Laughter therapy is ideal for people who may not be able to exercise, such as people with disabilities, people with physical limitations, or people who need other ways to increase their heart rate.

— Katie Siskind, LMFT

Although you can try laughter therapy alone, there are also benefits to doing it with others. “I want to emphasize the power of simply hearing laughter and watching others laugh happily,” Pascual said.

“I used to work with seniors who didn’t want to laugh at an assisted living center, but after hearing and seeing others laughing during my meetings, they ended up participating and laughing with us.”

What this means to you

Smile and embrace your relaxed and playful side. “As children, we laugh more than 100 times a day, but as adults, research shows that we only laugh eight times a day. Sometimes you have to force yourself to laugh to restore playful mood and promote mental health,” Ziskind said .

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Research finds laughter therapy may increase life satisfaction
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