Why Laughter is Important for Mental and Physical Health

When dealing with the subject of relieving stress or increasing our health in general, many people forget the positive benefits that come with laughing on both our mental and physical health.

While laughter might seem like a go to solution on the surface, often we overlook it and instead invest time looking into our nutrition, habits and even consider taking supplements as a solution. Laughter might be the free and impactful addition to your life which might be exactly what the doctor should have ordered.

Whether it is just reading a page of funny jokes to make you laugh, watching a comical movie or even just finding a funny compilation video on youtube. Any form of laughter can be a natural remedy for stress and has many other benefits on the human body.

Benefits of Laughter

The list of health-related benefits that can come from laughter and smiling is impressive to say the least, below we have listed the main benefits:

Increased immune system – Positive thoughts and laughter in general can cause our immune system to have an increased level of white blood cells, these cells can help prevent infection and potentially fight other more severe illnesses.

Pain relief – Laughter and smiling can reduce the perception of pain by releasing serotonin and endorphins, these chemicals are known to make us “feel good” and make us feel happy and positive when released.

Lower stress levels –  When these endorphins are released into the brain, the opposite hormones which cause anxiety and higher stress levels are reduced. Negative hormones such as cortisol can be lowered by laughing and being relaxed.

Reduce tension in the body – Tension built up in the body can be released and relieved from laughing. A deep laugh can oxygenate your body and gives a physical release releasing tension from your body.

Whilst many of these points may sound overwhelming and even hard to believe, there are even studies which prove the positive effects of laughter. An example of this is a clinical trial at Indiana State University on the effects of laughter on stress, it revealed not only decreased stress levels but also an increased immune function post intervention.

How to laugh more

Whilst it is all well and good knowing some of the many benefits of laughter and humor, how can we actually learn to laugh more? Here are a few suggestions which you can use to get a laugh today.

Watch funny videos –  Whether it’s a funny compilation video on youtube or a popular comedy to watch on Netflix videos can provide your daily laughter fix.

Learn what makes you laugh – Learn more about yourself and what makes you laugh as an individual. When you feel that release of endorphins, remember that moment and try to find other similar triggers like that one.

Hang around with funny people – If you are surrounded by less interesting people or people with drastically different opinions it can be harder to enjoy yourself and laugh. Try switching up a conservation when negative topics are being discussed or spend more time with people that share a similar sense of humor as you.

Balance with negativity – Negative situations, news and life worries can make it a lot harder to laugh and feel positive. Whilst negative news may be presented to you on a regular basis, try not to dwell on the facts, find also the positive situations to embrace and read uplifting stories to create a balance.

Laughter yoga – While it may not be for everyone or available to all, there is a form of yoga called laughter yoga. While traditionally yoga is known as a method to increase your flexibility and bodyweight strength, laughter yoga aims to practice laughing itself and is becoming increasingly more popular around the world.

Smiling, laughter and humor in general are known to help with anxiety, depression, energy levels and positivity. While the above are just a few suggestions which you can use, you need to remember the simplest way to laugh more in the long term is by creating more moments in your life to laugh. Surround yourself with things and people that you enjoy and that make you happy.

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