Facing your hectic day might not give you many reasons to smile but you’ll want to change your way of thinking when you learn the benefits of laughter for your physical and mental health!
Countless studies have been done on the advantages of a good chuckle and it’s easier to get them than you might think!
The Act of Laughter
When you laugh, your entire body gets involved. There are muscles all over your body that contract as laughter spreads from your face, through your lungs, and out into your limbs.
The simple act of laughing physically engages your face, throat, and chest. The musculature, respiratory, cardiovascular, and neurological systems are affected by it.
The International Journal of Obesity determined that laughing for a few minutes is the equivalent of a 15-minute cardio workout. You also burn calories without sweating!
The more you laugh, the better you’re going to feel from head to toe.The more you laugh, the better you’re going to feel from head to toe. #benefitsoflaughter #feelgoodlivebetterClick To Tweet
7 Benefits of Laughter You Need in Your Life
- Literally change your mood. If you’re feeling temporarily low or regularly suffer from bouts of depression (like 16 million American adults), a good laugh session (inspired by external input) releases neurotransmitters called endorphins that inspire feelings of euphoria. In fact, the effect of heightened endorphins in your blood has been compared to the drug morphine.
- Improve oxygen levels in your blood. Laughter causes you to breathe deeper and pull more oxygen-rich air into your lungs that immediately stimulates better blood flow in your heart and clarity in your brain. This is better for your circulation and respiration as well.
- Lower stress without drugs. Increasing oxygen, stimulating blood flow to your heart, and the release of endorphins has a measurable lowering effect on blood pressure, stress hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol, and systemic inflammation. According to the international health care group BUPA, 1-in-4 people feel stressed “most of the time.” A rapid decrease in the physical manifestations of stress is one of the greatest benefits of laughter.
- Natural pain relief. The very chemical reactions that make laughter so good for your emotional and mental health are also excellent for easing pain. Chronic pain is a serious health crisis in the United States. Experts estimate that almost 50 million Americans have pain that is significant or severe. Laughter releases endorphins comparable to the pharmaceutical painkiller morphine, lowers inflammatory hormones (cortisol and adrenaline) linked to chronic pain, and helps ease stress markers that worsen symptoms.
- Boost T-cell production. Your immune system may receive a direct benefit of laughter in the stimulation of T-cell production. These are the first line of defense against foreign invaders such as bacteria, viruses, parasites, fungus, and toxic contaminants. Researchers believe laughing could improve your body’s ability to fight infection, heal from trauma, and resist disease.
- Shake fatigue without stimulants. If you get a case of the afternoon “blahs,” search out something to make you laugh before you reach for the caffeine. Better breathing, circulation of oxygen-rich blood, lower stress hormones, and a burst of feel good endorphins can provide a much-needed second wind to get you to quitting time. Another amazing benefit of laughter is immediate improved oxygen to the brain that’s been shown to improve memory and overall brain function.
- Change your environment. Everyone needs more laughter. An average adult laughs about 15 times each day. With the health benefits associated with a good belly laugh, you should strive to get those numbers up. If you find yourself in an awkward setting, some appropriate humor could be just the thing to ease tension and break the ice. Laughing can boost your self-confidence and aid in social skills, not to mention positively affect those around you.
Up Your Friend Game
Laughter benefits you personally but it can also be a solid advantage to the people with whom you spend the most time. The Journal of Neuroscience released study findings that found social bonds are strengthened through laughter.
Researchers with the University of Turku, Aalto University in Finland, and the University of Oxford in England discovered that the more you laugh, the better you feel, which makes you want to laugh even more…and this is particularly true when you’re among friends.
Social group interactions that include laughter significantly bump all those “feel good” hormones and neurotransmitters pumping through your body. This dramatically increased pain tolerance, feelings of well-being, and confidence in both men and women.
Professor Lauri Nummenmaa from the University of Turku, explained, “Endorphin release induced by social laughter may be an important pathway that supports formation, reinforcement, and maintenance of social bonds between humans. The pleasurable and calming effects of the endorphin release might signal safety and promote feelings of togetherness.”
In other words, laughing alone is awesome but laughing with friends is even better for your body, mind, and spirit.Laughing alone is awesome but laughing with friends is even better for your body, mind, & spirit. #benefitsoflaughterClick To Tweet
Remember What Makes You Laugh!
To get the full benefit of laughter, you need to know what’s going to do the trick for you when you need it. Avoid laughter at the expense of someone else or humor that isn’t appropriate in certain situations (such as work).
If there’s a funny video, book, stand-up comedian, song, show, or comic that inspires you to laugh, make sure you maintain access to it at all times. Put it on your phone, carry it in your car, or bookmark it in your computer.
When things get tough, laugh it out…then spread the goodness.
Social Laughter Releases Endorphins, Strengthens Bonds | Psych Central News. (2017). Psych Central News.
Stress relief from laughter? It’s no joke – Mayo Clinic. (2017). Mayo Clinic.
Matthews, K. (2017). 6 Powerful Health Benefits of Laughter. HuffPost.
Society, A. (2017). NIH Study Shows Prevalence of Chronic or Severe Pain in U.S. Adults | APS. Americanpainsociety.org.
Depression and Mental Health by the Numbers: Facts, Statistics, and You. (2017). Healthline.
Bell, P. (2017). Nearly 50% Of Brits Suffer From Long Term Stress – Are You One Of Them?. HuffPost UK.