Kate Adamek, local therapist and group facilitator for the Ornish Lifestyle Medicine program at Beebe, shares why setting aside time for friendship, support groups, and social activities is necessary to stay connected and improve your mood and mental health.
Isolation is a growing issue in today's society. It can even be detrimental to your health—studies have indicated that isolation increases the risk of heart disease. That's why having a strong support system to both cry and laugh with you is so important to maintaining good health.
“In my long experience as a therapist and now a group support facilitator, I've seen that laughter is essential for good mental and physical health,” Kate says. “Laughing with others is especially life-enhancing.” Laughter can help you put things in perspective, which lowers your anxiety. This in turn can make you more effective at solving problems, addressing the demands of life, and getting some much-needed rest.
The Science Behind Laughter
Laughter increases beneficial chemicals and decreases harmful chemicals in the body. Think about your own experience and the last time you had a good laugh. How did you feel afterwards? “In the Group Support sessions at the Ornish program, the room is generally full of laughter, along with more serious moments,” Kate says.
“Participating in both offers balance, which provides the underlying growth for connection and intimacy—both essential factors for improved health outcomes."
The love and support element is one of four elements of the Ornish program, which also includes diet, exercise, and stress management.