How laughter can alleviate stress and provide other health benefits
Whoever said laughter is the best medicine probably wasn’t a doctor, but they were certainly on to something. While you should make sure to eat a healthy diet and get your regular medical check-ups, it is also beneficial to get some laughs in as often as you can.
In fact, a good chuckle yields both immediate and long-term benefits, like a stronger immune system, improved mood and reduced stress.
Laughing instantly lowers blood pressure and relaxes the whole body. This includes the release of endorphins, which are natural painkillers and known as the body’s feel-good chemicals. It also activates T-cells, which boost your immune system. So, laughing not only makes you feel better in the moment, but it can also help keep you healthy when cold season starts up.
The lasting benefits of laughter come from improved blood vessel function and increased blood flow, which will help protect your heart and cardiovascular system. While it doesn’t replace a proper exercise regimen, laughter also burns calories and works your abs. The stomach muscles expand and contract when laughing. If you’ve had a lot of humor in your day, you might be able to skip a few ab reps at the end of your workout.
Reducing stress is a big benefit of laughing. Lowering the stress hormones in your body makes it easier to focus and put your energy towards the goals you want to accomplish. It may seem obvious, but it’s pretty hard to remain anxious, angry or sad while you’re laughing. Even the temporary alleviation of such emotions can be a welcome respite during a tough time. When you laugh, it shifts perspective and creates a psychological distance from the current situation. If you’re ever feeling stressed or overwhelmed, find a quick giggle for some comic relief!
Of course, it’s not always easy to laugh on demand, but there are things you can do to increase your humor intake.
For starters, try smiling more. Even a forced smile can have benefits. The more you practice smiling, the easier it gets. Plus, smiles are contagious! Make an effort to smile at people you pass on the street and take note of the effect this has on others.
Seek out laughter and don’t be shy about joining a humorous conversation. Sometimes, they may be enjoying an inside joke, but most people are happy to retell a funny story or a good joke to add to the fun.
Surround yourself with things that make you smile, whether it’s light-hearted people, comic strips, photos or maybe a playlist of stand-up comedians from your favorite streaming service. Whatever it is, always make sure to give yourself a boost of humor when you need it. Soon, you’ll be surrounded by laughter. Remember, few things spread positivity and joy like laughter and at the end of the day your body feels better for it.