There’s nothing better than a great giggle that snowballs into a guffaw, that results in a snort, that has you doubled over in hysterics.
Whether you chuckle, giggle, yuck-it-up, cackle, or crack the heck up, it feels great to laugh and make others laugh with you. But laughter does more than take your breath away — it has some pretty significant physical and mental benefits that should be celebrated!
- Relaxation for your body: Turning off the release of stress hormones like cortisol, laughter lessens the tension within your muscles.
- An emotional release: When life’s struggles, insecurities, or fears begin to form, a little laughter can push those emotional soul-suckers right out of your mind.
- Release of anger and help with forgiveness: Looking at the funny or ridiculous side of painful situations can put problems into perspective. This will enable you to let go of bitterness and resentment more quickly.
- Connection to others: Laughter is most definitely contagious. Spending time with others is important for everyone’s overall health, and a little laughter helps you be more open to new people and to building relationships.
- Calorie burn: So a great laugh isn’t going to replace your workout routine, but it does exercise the diaphragm and abs, as well as the heart. You can burn roughly 40 calories after 10-15 minutes of laughter. Done every day, you could lose 3 to 4 pounds a year.
- Memory help: Laughter releases your brain’s dopamine reward system, stimulating your long-term memory and ability to think more clearly.
- Creative power: With the relaxation of laughter, your mind is able to feel safer and free to let ideas flow, while being more focused and alert.
It just may be the best medicine after all.
- Lowers your blood pressure: That decrease in cortisol has the added benefit of improving blood flow which, in turn, lowers your blood pressure.
- Improves your immune system: Laughter increases the release of immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies that can improve your resistance to disease.
- Combats heart disease and stroke risk: Laughter’s innate ability to boost oxygen to the heart, lungs, and muscles helps to reduce health-related conditions.
- Relieves pain: the release of endorphins in your brain while laughing improves depression and reduces physical pain.
- Laughter may even help you live longer. A study in Norway found that people with a strong sense of humor outlive those who didn’t laugh as often. The difference was particularly notable for those battling cancer.
Ways to find laughter
Make it a daily routine.
- Get a laugh-a-day calendar.
- Start a family or student joke jar and withdraw an entry as needed.
- Check out some online memes, GIFs, or crazy videos.
- FInd a favorite comedian and follow them on social media.
Enjoy those moments with others.
- Go out with your best friends.
- Check out a comedy club.
- Have a game night with family and friends.
- Watch your favorite comedy with your significant other.
Try something unusual.
- Wear a silly shirt.
- Tell a bad joke.
- Dance in front of your students.
Find the fun ones.
- Hang out with a little kid.
- Get a pet — or just hang out with someone else’s.
- Call your grandparents and ask them about their phone or computer.
Check out some fun blog posts.
Turn hard times around.
- Look at the ridiculousness of your frustration and tell others about it.
- Fake it till you make it.
Life’s not all fun and games. But finding the funny can be just the kind of self-care that you need. Remember the benefits of laughter then go ahead and chortle. You’ll feel absolutely amazing.
Ashley is an award-winning copywriter and content expert with more than a decade of proven results for national and local clients. From brainstorming high-end conceptual content to styling sentences that engage and convert, she’s got a knack for shattering the status quo. When she’s not in full-on writing mode, she’s hanging out with her rascal of a puppy and discussing the plausibility of unicorns with her 8-year-old daughter.