Get your giggles going for all that ails you! Because your health is no joking matter, laughter really is the best medicine!
Whether you’re guffawing at some inane YouTube video or giggling at an episode of Saturday Night Live, laughing does your body a whole lot of good. Laughter is a great form of stress relief, and that’s no joke. A strong funny-bone can’t cure all your ailments, but research data is steadily mounting about all the positive things that laughter can do for you.
A good laugh has great short-term effects. Laughter doesn’t just lighten your mental stress load; it also induces physical changes in your body. Laughter has more than a few tricks up its sleeve. It can stimulate many organs by enhancing your intake of oxygen-rich air. This stimulates your heart, lungs, and muscles and increases the endorphins released by your brain. Laughter also activates and relieves your stress response. A rollicking laugh fires up and then cools down your stress response and increases your heart rate and blood pressure, which results in a good, relaxed feeling. Laughter can soothe tension by stimulating circulation and aiding in muscle relaxation, both of which help reduce some of the physical symptoms associated with stress.
(NOTE: We put together a video showing how laughter can really be the best medicine and help you throughout your long days! Watch it here.)
Laughter isn’t just a quick bailing wire and duct tape fix. It’s also good for you over the long haul. Consistent daily laughter can improve your immune system. Negative thoughts manifest into chemical reactions that affect your body by bringing more stress into your system and decreasing your immunity. In contrast, positive thoughts actually release neuropeptides that help fight stress and potentially more serious illnesses. Laughter may also ease physical pain by causing the body to produce its own natural painkillers. It may also break the pain-spasm cycle common to some muscle disorders. Laughter can increase your feelings of personal satisfaction and make it easier to cope with difficult situations. It also helps you connect with other people. And, without a doubt, laughter can greatly improve your mood. Many people experience depression, sometimes due to chronic illnesses. Laughter can help lessen your depression and anxiety and make you feel happier.
C’mon now. Just stop resisting the idea of cracking up and give it a try. Turn the corners of your mouth up into a smile, think about something hilariously ridiculous, and then let out a hearty chortle, even if it feels a bit forced. Once you’ve had your guffaw, pay attention to how you feel. Pretty happy and relaxed, I’d venture to guess. That’s the power of laughter to instantly take away stress.