Think back to how you felt the last time you had a fit of uncontrollable laughter. Chances are, what you felt was somewhat euphoric. Getting a good laugh in can make your whole day better! But, did you know that it can actually improve your health? In reality, laughter is a strong medicine that can can trigger healthy physical and emotional changes in the body. Laughter can boost moods, diminish pain, and significantly reduce stress. By seeking more opportunities to laugh, you can improve your health, strengthen your relationships, and live a happier life!
What Makes Laughter The Best Medicine?
Laughter is a powerful antidote that can totally transform your physical and mental health. Best of all, it’s a free and fun medicine to use!
Physical Health Benefits
The physical act of laughing engages tons of muscles and is actually really beneficial for your body. Here are a few ways laughter can help keep your psych.
Laughter burns calories. While laughter definitely won’t replace a daily workout, one study found that laughing for 10 to 15 minutes a day can burn about 40 calories—which could translate to a few pounds of weight loss each year.
Laughter may help you to live longer. A study in Norway found that people with a strong sense of humor outlived those who don't laugh as much. The difference was particularly notable for those battling cancer.
Laughter boosts the immune system. Laughter decreases stress hormones and increases immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies, thus improving your resistance to disease.
Laughter triggers the release of endorphins, the body’s natural feel-good chemicals. Endorphins promote an overall sense of well-being and can even temporarily relieve pain and stress.
Laughter relaxes the whole body. A good, hearty laugh relieves physical tension and stress, leaving your muscles relaxed for up to 45 minutes after.
Laughter protects the heart. Laughter improves the function of blood vessels and increases blood flow, which can help protect you against a heart attack and other cardiovascular problems.
Mental Health Benefits
The feel good energy that comes from laughing will remain with you long after the laughing subsides. More than just a distractions from sadness, laughter can help you keep a positive and optimistic outlook through the various obstacles life is bound to throw your way. Here are a few ways laughter can help keep your mental wellness levels strong and healthy.
Laughter shifts perspective, allowing you to see situations in a more realistic, less threatening light. A humorous perspective creates psychological distance, which can help you avoid feeling overwhelmed and diffuse conflict.
Laughter draws you closer to others, which can have a profound effect on all aspects of your mental and emotional health.
Laughter lightens anger’s heavy load. Nothing diffuses anger and conflict faster than a shared laugh. Looking at the funny side can put problems into perspective and enable you to move on from confrontations without holding onto bitterness or resentment.
Laughter stops distressing emotions. You can’t feel anxious, angry, or sad when you’re laughing.
Laughter helps you relax and recharge. It reduces stress and increases energy, enabling you to stay focused and accomplish more.
Start Laughing More
It’s your human right to laugh. Being intentional about bringing more humor in your life is the best way to start laughing more. Here are some ideas!
Smile. Smiling is the beginning of laughter and like laughter, it’s contagious. When you are interacting with someone, remind yourself to smile. Smiling will invite people to become warmer to you, which in turn will invite more opportunities for laughter.
When you hear laughter, move toward it. More often than not, people are very happy to share something funny that you might have missed since it gives them the opportunity to laugh again. Next time you are in a social setting and you hear laughter, seek it out and if it’s appropriate ask, “What’s so funny?”.
Spend your time with fun, playful people. These are people who laugh easily and who routinely find the humor in everyday events.
Bring humor into conversations. Ask people, “What’s the funniest thing that happened to you today? This week? In your life?”
To bring more laughter into your life immediately try:
Watching a funny movie, TV show, or YouTube video
Inviting friends or co-workers to go to a comedy club
Sharing a good joke or a funny story with a friend
Checking out your bookstore’s humor section
Playing with a pet
Goofing around with children
Doing something silly