The Many Health Benefits of Laughter
Ever wonder why you feel so good after a hard laugh? Not only is laughter a natural response to something funny or enjoyable, it’s also good for your health.
Research has found that laughing has many health benefits, from decreasing stress to boosting the immune system. Even so, most adults don’t laugh nearly enough. A healthy child laughs nearly 300 times a day while the average adult laughs only 20 times in a given day.
Let’s take a look at what science has found about the health benefits of laughter and then go over a list of ideas to increase the level of smiles in your day-to-day life.
Laughter for Pain Relief
Doctors have found countless health benefits from laughing — the biggest being its help as a natural anxiety and pain reliever. When you’re giggling, your body releases a handful of “feel good” chemicals that help decrease anxiety and stress while balancing your natural hormones. The biggest helper comes from a rush of endorphins, the natural “feel good” chemical produced in the body and known to help with mood and pain tolerance.
Laughter has also been associated with weight loss. With the release of endorphins and other chemicals, the stress hormones known to cause weight gain begin to fall. Blood pressure is often reduced as well.
Even the physical act of laughing has shown to have numerous health benefits. Studies have found that a good fit of laughter can reduce physical and muscular tension in the body, lasting up to 45 minutes afterwards. Other positive side effects come from the influx of fresh oxygen your body receives while laughing. This rush of oxygen increases your heart rate, improves circulation, and also boosts vascular function.
The positive mindset created by laughter can help strengthen mental health and overall outlook on life. Now that you know the health benefits of laughter — what are some ways you can increase laughter in your life?
Here’s a short list to help get you started.
Ideas to Laughing More:
- Watch something funny: have your favorite “feel good” comedy movies on standby, and put one on if you need a lift. When you are short on time, YouTube is always a good source for funny, shorter clips.
- Visit a furry friend: If you have a loved one with a pet, schedule some time for a visit. Animals can be very helpful in bringing out the laughter.
- Host a game night: games like charades or Pictionary always help bring out people’s goofier sides. Before you know it you’ll be chuckling away!
- Try laughter yoga: this form of yoga involves a series of movement and breathing exercises to help people deliberately laugh on cue. Here are some laughter yoga exercises to help get you started.
- Learn to laugh at yourself: find ways to take life less seriously and laugh at the things going on in your life. In this case you might have to practice before it comes naturally.
In some instances you might feel sad, tired, or incapable of laughing at anything. In that case, try making yourself laugh a little. Even if it feels forced, your body will take the cue and begin triggering the chemicals mentioned above.
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