We have all heard the saying: “Laughter is the best medicine.” But have you ever wondered if it is actually true? Well, it turns out that it is more than just a catchy phrase. Laughter does have beneficial, short-term, and long-term effects on our bodies.
The Physical Benefits of Laughter
Let’s start with physical effects.
Did you know that laughter is great for your cardiovascular health? When we laugh, our blood flow increases, and it improves the function of blood vessels, because when we laugh, we breath in oxygen-rich air, which stimulates our heart and other organs. Laughter also boosts the immune system by decreasing stress hormones that would otherwise weaken it.
Additionally, laughter causes the brain to release endorphins in the brain that not only improve mood, but they also can act as temporary pain relievers! Who would have thought that laughter could serve as an all-natural pain killer?
There are muscular system benefits too of laughter. Have you ever had laughed so hard that your stomach felt sore afterward? That is because your stomach muscles are stimulated when you laugh! Afterward, your muscles relax, and you feel calm. Some studies even show that laughing can even burn a few calories!
Laughing Helps Your Mental Health
Laughter is beneficial to mental health as well. It improves mood and helps decrease issues that stem from anxiety and depression. Negative thoughts and bad moods create chemical reactions within the body that cause heightened stress levels, so laughing can be an easy way to ease your mind and improve your mental health!
Comedy Brings People Together
Have you ever noticed how contagious laughter is? Most times, it is hard to hold in the laughs when you hear others around you cracking up. This is why many sit-coms and other television shows use “laugh tracks” or film in front of a live studio audience. Laughter is contagious! When an audience or group witness comedy, connections are made through the common language of laughter. It promotes feelings of positivity and can make a stressful situation easier to deal with. Comedy can even strengthen relationships and bring people together.
Learn to Laugh
Try to surround yourself with things you find funny. There are many different types of comedy, so if you aren’t quite sure what kind you prefer…try them all! Surround yourself with individuals who make you laugh. Luckily, there is so much comedic material available, you don’t even need to leave your house to get your hands on it!
Streaming applications, such as Netflix and Hulu, have plenty of stand-up comedy specials and collections of sit-com series. Podcasts are available on the internet and phones, YouTube offers content for every age, there are many funny radio shows, and the internet is riddled with pictures (and memes) that can brighten everyone’s day. There is a ton of comedy out there, so go find something to laugh at today—it could literally save your life!