The benefits of laughter can’t be underestimated.
Have you ever noticed the way someone’s face – and entire being – seems to light up as they burst into laughter? The benefits of laughter can’t be underestimated. Indeed, getting the last laugh may even improve your health!
We simply feel better after a good laugh because our mood improves. Laughter is a natural therapy that can lift our emotional state; a healthy, helpful coping mechanism that allows us to express our feelings. However, there is extensive medical and scientific evidence to attest that laughter actually makes for good health.
Laughter stimulates the brain, the nervous system, the respiratory system, the muscular system and the hormonal system. A hearty laugh can lower blood pressure, increase vascular blood flow and oxygenation of the blood, which assists in healing; and can even lower the risk of heart disease, heart attack, and other circulatory diseases. A bout of laughter also gives your diaphragm and abdominal, respiratory, facial, leg and back muscles a work out equal to an aerobic work out at the gym!
In addition, laughing triggers the release of endorphins and antibodies. Endorphins, which are the body’s natural pain killers, provide temporary relief and distraction from pain. Antibodies, found in the bloodstream and saliva, stave of infection from bacteria, viruses and parasites. Thus, enjoying regular fits of laughter can actually improve your immune system.
Everyone faces dark times in life, when bad things happen, when nothing seems worth smiling about. Although laughter can’t solve those problems or make them go away, it can provide some perspective; helping to ease the anxiety and thereby enabling us to deal with difficult situations in a more rational manner.
Cheerfullness, laughter and humor are linked to emotional resillence. If we can learn to laugh, we learn to remain optimistic and press on, even in times of despair and dificulty. Furthermore, when laughter is shared, between friends or groups, it binds people together, solidifying bonds of friendship and intimacy.
Most managers, bosses and supervisors can confirm the concept that in the work place, humor improves employee morale. Humor and laughter can help to diffuse arguments, conflicts and tense business situations.
If you are feeling overwhelmed or overstressed in your life, take some time to seek out joy, humor and laughter.
Here are some tips for cultivating more humor and laughter in your life.
- Spend time with upbeat, optimistic people
- Attend a comedy show or a comedy club
- Subscribe to a “Joke of the Day” website
- Share a “joke of the day” or “joke of the week” with your friends
- Take time on a sunday morning to read the funny pages
- In the office, post comic strips that make you laugh or post a “joke of the day” calendar
- Spend time with children, enjoy being silly and goofy with children
- Rent a comedy or sitcom to watch with friends
- Incorporate humor in your daily conversations by asking your friends “what is the funniest thing that happened to you this week?”
- Visit a local bookstore and peruse their humor section
- Practice taking your self less seriously. When you make a mistake or something simple frustrates you during the day, stop, take a deep breath, and laugh at yourself.
- If you are feeling stressed, do something that cheered you up or made you laugh when you were a child – go to the zoo, to a carnival, toy store or amusement park
- Sort through photo albums of friends and family. Write a series of funny captions or one-liners to go with your favorite photos. Share these photos with friends, or enjoy the album when you need a laugh
Remember, a good laugh can cleanse and rejuvenate the spirit, energizing us both physically and emotionally.