Debbie Wilburn wrote a piece in the Gainesville Times about this, pointing out that the stress of being a caregiver can make for an exhausting, even humorless life. To counter that, she suggests deliberate use of humor.
I'll use any excuse to laugh, but, until I looked into Debbie's comments, I didn't realize what good medicine laughter actually is. Here's some information from the Mayo Clinic:
- Laughter stimulates your heart, lungs and muscles.
- It increased the endorphins released by your brain.
- A big laugh fires and then cools down your stress response, increasing relaxation.
- Laughter improves your immune system.
- It causes the body to produce its own natural painkillers.
So fire up that DVR and record your favorite funny shows. Buy a bunch of funny books. And take a laughter break if you haven't laughed hard by 5 p.m. About a third of the U.S. population needs it!