Have you noticed that you always feel better after watching a good comedy or sharing a good laugh with friends and family? It might be that laughter can have a positive effect on you both mentally and physically.
Sharing laughter helps you relax and forget your worries, strengthens bonds with friends and family, and adds joy, vitality, and resilience. Humor is a powerful and effective way to heal resentments, disagreements, and hurts. Laughter unites people during difficult times.
Researchers think that laughter’s emotional benefits rely on the facts that laughter:
*stops distressing emotions-people forgot they were angry, frustrated or upset while they were laughing.
*shifts perspective on things– it allows you to view things in a more positive and not feel so overwhelmed.
* reduces stress and increases energy -enabling you to stay focused and accomplish more.
*draws you closer to others – which can have a profound effect on all aspects of your mental and emotional health.
One can also get real physical benefits from laughter because it:
*triggers the release of endorphins, the body’s natural feel-good chemicals. Endorphins promote an overall sense of well-being and can even temporarily relieve pain.
*relaxes the whole body – A good, hearty laugh relieves physical tension and stress, leaving your muscles relaxed for up to 45 minutes after.
*boosts the immune system – it decreases stress hormones and increases immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies, thus improving your resistance to disease.
* protects the heart – it improves the function of blood vessels and increases blood flow, which can help protect you against a heart attack and other cardiovascular problems.
* burns calories – one study found that laughing for 10 to 15 minutes a day can burn about 40 calories, which could be enough to lose three or four pounds over the course of a year.
* helps you live longer – A study in Norway found that people with a strong sense of humor outlived those who don’t laugh as much.
This priceless medicine is fun, free, and easy to use. Here are a few tips to get more laughter into your life:
*Spend more time with fun, playful people – these are people who laugh easily both at themselves and at life’s absurdities and who routinely find the humor in everyday events. Their playful point of view and laughter are contagious.
*Smile– it is the beginning of laughter and like laughter, it’s contagious. When you look at someone or see something even mildly pleasing, practice smiling. Instead of looking down at your phone, look up and smile at people you pass in the street, the person serving you a morning coffee, or the co-workers you share an elevator with. Notice the effect this has on others.
*Count your blessings – literally make a list. The simple act of considering the good things in your life will distance you from negative thoughts that are a barrier to humor and laughter. When you’re in a state of sadness, you have further to travel to get to humor and laughter.
*Watch a funny movie, TV show, YouTube video, go to a comedy club, have a fun game night with friends etc.
*Develop a sense of humor– do not take yourself too seriously, learn to laugh at yourself and your mistakes and embrace your imperfections, look for the humor in a bad situation.
*Surround yourself with reminders to lighten up – keep a toy in your desk or car, put up a funny poster in your wall, frame photos of you and your family having fun etc
The more laughter you bring into your own life, the happier you and those around you will feel.