Laugh Your Way to Good Health

Laugh Your Way to Good Health

Disease is no laughing matter. Yet, some scientists think it may actually be. It turns out that one of the best feelings you can experience has shown to be a potential tool to fight disease and other health compromises. Laugh your way to good health and embrace the nirvana joy can bring.

Not Just Feel Good

The physical act itself of laughing is already a benefit. A variety of studies have shown a significant benefit to laughing on any level. Whether a chuckle to a full guffaw, the experts say that laughter truly is the best medicine. 

The American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine published a study by researchers at The University of California and Harvard University which stated,

“Whereas laughter and humor were once thought of as nearly interchangeable, laughter is now a distinct physical action that can be effective on its own. Currently, research is indicating that the physical act of laughing, even without humor, is linked to chemical changes in the body that potentially reduce stress and increase pain tolerance.”

Physically, when you laugh, your body can go through a minor circulation increase (vasodilation) to a complete, heart pumping, cardiovascular workout. This is one example of the benefits of laughter.

The University of St Augustine breaks down other ways of how laughing affects the body:

  • Stimulates your organs – When you laugh, you take in more oxygen-rich air. This stimulates your lungs, heart and muscles.
  • Relaxes your muscles – When you get stressed, your body tenses up and can cause you to feel stuck. A good laugh can relieve physical tension in the body and relax the muscles for up to 45 minutes.
  • Improves cardiac health – Laughing increases your heart rate and the amount of oxygen in your blood. This can improve vascular function and decrease the risk of heart attacks.
  • Boosts your immune system – When you’re stressed, negative thoughts can turn into chemical reactions that decrease your immunity to sickness. When you laugh, you adopt a positive mindset that can release infection-fighting antibodies and neuropeptides that help fight stress.
  • Lowers blood pressure – Laughter releases endorphins that counteract the negative effects of stress hormones – lowering your blood pressure as a result.
  • Helps with weight loss –  A common side effect of chronic stress is weight gain. Laughing not only reduces the stress hormones that cause weight gain, but it also burns calories.

Brain Tonic

You already know how good laughter feels and how your body may react. However, there are the mental benefits beyond mood enhancement that laughter can contribute to. When the brain improves, the rest of the body follows.

UA cites some of the mental benefits of laughing as:

  • Provides distraction – When you laugh, you aren’t thinking about that assignment that is overdue or the big final you have coming up next week. Laughter provides your brain with a break from the worrying thoughts that cause stress.
  • Improves your mood – Nothing squashes a bad mood quite like a good laugh. Laughing produces a general sense of well-being and can diffuse the anger and depression you were once feeling.
  • Reduces stress hormones – Cortisol is our primary stress hormone that circulates throughout the body when you’re feeling stressed. 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 to that person and form a strong and lasting bond. Humor is also a powerful way to heal past disagreements or resentments.

These findings really show the broad spectrum of the benefits of laughter. However, getting there could be a challenge for some. 

Find Your Laughter

It may be difficult to search for some form of laughter just because it is good for your health. Yet, it can be done. Finding your laughter can be just as beneficial as taking a multi-vitamin or going to the gym for a workout. These are some tips on how to increase your laughter on a regular basis. Once you get in the groove you may find it easier to laugh and surely feel the beneficial results. 

  • Watch romantic comedies
  • Spend time with a dog, cat, horse, whatever animal you enjoy and can get access to
  • Practice silently giggling
  • Be silly: talk in a funny accent; sing in the shower; cartwheel
  • Listen to positive music with positive lyrics; make a playlist
  • Force a smile, it works
  • Remove negativity: stop watching negative news or violent television; avoid toxic people
  • Meditate on finding your inner joy

Laugh your way to good health. It’s as simple as that.