No matter what our life circumstances are, we can always add a bit of laughter. It doesn’t change or fix our problems, but it allows us time to heal and alleviates the stressors of life in a way that helps us to feel better.
Laughter may be necessary after a long periods of ongoing stress, illness, or conflict. Laughter truly is the best medicine and has many health benefits. One reason I became a certified Laughter Yoga Leader was because of the many physical and emotional health benefits that bring joy to children and adults. Plus I also wanted to increase more laughter into my own life.
Research has found both short-term and long-term benefits including:
- Stimulates your organs: When you laugh, you take in more oxygen which stimulates your lungs, heart and muscles.
- Relaxes your muscles: When you get stressed, your body tenses and laughter releases physical tension in the body and relaxes the muscles.
- Improves cardiac health: Laughing increases your heart rate and oxygen, improving vascular function and decrease the risk of heart attacks.
- Boosts immune system: When you’re stressed, negative thoughts can turn into chemical reactions that decrease your immunity to sickness. Laughter helps you adopt a positive mindset that releases infection-fighting antibodies and neuropeptides that help fight stress.
- Lowers blood pressure: Laughter releases endorphins that counteract the negative effects of stress hormones.
- Helps with weight loss: Laughing reduces the stress hormones that cause weight gain as you burns calories.
Mental Health Benefits of Laughter
- Provides distraction: When you laugh, you aren’t thinking about anything other than what you are laughing about. Laughter provides your brain with a break from the worry.
- Improves your mood: Laughing can diffuse anger and depression.
- Reduces stress hormones: Laughter can decrease cortisol levels by increasing your intake of oxygen and stimulating circulation throughout the body.
- Increases endorphins: Endorphins are those “feel-good” chemicals produced by your brain that help boost happiness levels. Laughing increases the number of endorphins released in your body, fighting off stress and promoting a positive mood.
- Strengthens relationships: A shared laugh with friends, family or a coworker can help you feel more connected. Humor is also a powerful way to heal disagreements or resentments.