Laughter really is the best medicine...
We all have heard the saying that ‘laughter is the best medicine’, but how many of us know the truth behind this popular saying? Medical studies have confirmed for years that laughter is helpful for both our physical as well as our mental health.
Laughter triggers full body relaxation. It relives tension and stress that has a lasting effect on our body for up to 45 minutes after. This can allow us to recharge ourselves, helping us stay focused and accomplish more.
Laughter can help increase our immune system. The decrease in stress hormones and increase in immune cells help us to fight infection causing bacteria and increase our antibodies. This can have the effect of helping us fend off diseases.
Laughter triggers the release of endorphins, our feel-good brain chemicals that promote our overall sense of well-being. This release can even temporarily help with pain relief.
It protects our heart, improves functioning of blood vessels and increases blood flow. This is why sometimes when we laugh too hard we get light headed! This can help protect us from heart attacks and other cardiovascular problems.
Anger and conflict can quickly come to pass when laughter gets involved. Looking at the funny side of life can help put our problems into perspective and enable us to move on from bitterness and resentment. This can also have the effect of helping us view issues in a more realistic way, and less threatening light.
Laughter can help us feel less overwhelmed and can diffuse conflict. One study in Norway suggested that people who have a strong sense of humor outlive those who don’t laugh as much.
Laughter can stop distressing emotions in their tracks. It is very difficult to feel sad, angry or anxious when we are laughing.
Laughter draws us closer to other people. This can have a positive effect on all of our relationships and in turn increases our mental and emotional wellness.
Ways to increase laughter in your life:
Easier said than done right?! Here are some tips that can help us move towards gaining more laughter in our lives:
Start with a half-smile and work your way up! Smiling is the beginning to laughter, and it is contagious. To practice this, when we look at someone or something that is even mildly pleasing, put a smile on our face. Spend less time looking down at our phones and more time looking up.
Smile when you pass someone on the street, when you are greeted by others, when you pick up your morning coffee, when we see a co-worker in the hall or share an elevator. The effect is contagious.
Start a gratitude journal. When we take the time to count our blessings, we are allowing positive energy to flow. The act of paying attention to the positive things in our lives can help us to block negative thoughts that block laughter and humor. It is difficult to travel from sadness right to laughter, this is why gratitude journals help. They give us a stepping stone to get closer to positive
energy and thoughts.
Move towards laughter when you hear it. Sometimes moments of humor are private, for example when shared amongst a small group of friends, but usually not. People are usually very happy to share something funny with others, because it gives everyone an opportunity to laugh again.
When you hear laughter, seek it out, and ask “what’s funny?” People who laugh easily – both at themselves, the world, and life’s absurdities can allow us to bring more laughter into our lives.
Spending more time with fun, playful people gives us an opportunity to laugh more. Every comedian loves an audience and laughter is contagious.
Learn to bring humor into everyday conversations. Instead of asking someone how their day or week was, try asking “What was the funniest thing that happened to you today/this week?” ||