Now more than ever we could all use a good laugh, and it turns out we really need it. We’ve all heard it said before, but science has spoken and laughter truly is the best medicine.
Research shows that laughing reduces stress, anxiety and depression, but also strengthens your immune system and minimizes pain. Those who laugh more even tend to live longer and burn calories faster than those without a strong sense of humor – we’ll have what they’re having! The power of laughter is an incredible tool that we all have and using it will bring balance back to your mind and body.
The Benefits of Laughing
Laughing, or even smiling, triggers the release of chemicals, most importantly endorphins. Endorphins are the chemicals that make us feel happy and keep stress at bay; it’s the energetic high you get from a great workout or seeing friends. They also stave off pain and act as natural pain killers.
Improve Your Mood
Laughter can help ease the symptoms of anxiety and depression and make you feel happier.
Strengthens your lung and heart muscles
You know the feeling when you laugh so hard you’re out of breath, or develop a side cramp? That is your body exercising and getting a workout from laughing. It also helps to improve the function of blood vessels and increase blood flow which can protect against a heart attack.
When endorphins are released, the stress chemical cortisol is lowered which helps to physically relax the body and release tension. Laughing in a way for your body to find its zen and slice of calm.
Boosts the Immune System
The lack of stress hormones in the body strengthens infection fighting antibodies which in turn, strengthens the immune system. That’s why when you’re stressed, overworked or not sleeping well you’re more susceptible to a cold or flu. Laughter keeps cortisol down and your immense system strong.
Yep, we said it! But before you cancel your gym membership know that we’re talking about an additional 40 calories for every 15 minutes of laughing. It’s still a good workout and while it may not beat the treadmill, it adds up over time helping to keep weight down year over year.
Helps You Live Longer
A study in Norway found that those who laugh more, outlived those who didn’t. With the combined benefits of endorphins, strengthened heart and lung muscles, plus the interpersonal connections that are bound to form among those who have lives filled with joy and laughter, it is no surprise that your life may be extended.
Increase Personal Connections
Laughter can help you connect with other people. It’s a bonding experience that can make you closer to existing connections or help form new ones.
How to Welcome More Laughter Into Your Life
To harness the benefits of laughing everyday, it’s important to hone in on what sparks joy in your life. Is it time spent with optimistic people you love, your pets, a favorite T.V. show? There are simple and effective ways to bring more laughter into your life and one of the easiest is to just begin smiling and laughing regularly. Truth be told, your brain doesn't know the difference between someone making you laugh and you laughing with yourself, or smiling in the mirror; the endorphins released are all the same. It’s important to be willing and open to laughing more frequently at daily occurrences and in conversations – you never see what you’re not looking for.
And if you are still looking for that doubled over belly laugh, try turning on the T.V. and explore Netflix’s comedy selection. Trade out your go to dramas, documentaries and evening news for a scheduled surge of serotonin – you can thank us later!
Making a concerted effort to bring more laughter into your life will greatly benefit your day-to-day life, but also your long term health. It’s a win win! Whether it’s going outside for a hike with people that make you happy and laugh, or watching animal videos on TikTok – an immeasurable source of joy and laughter – there is never a downside to laughing too much or taking the time to carve out something for you and your health. Once you start to see the results, good luck controlling the laughter.