Stress relief from laughter? It’s no joke
Does laughter relieve stress? Yes, you bet it does!
Think about it, when was the last time you laughed so hard you could hardly stop? The answer may be not so recently, however science shows that laughing not only relieves stress it also benefits our health in many ways.
So maybe you want to turn on a comedy show instead of watching a shoot em up after reading this article on the benefits of laughter and how it can help relieve stress.
According to an abstract published by the American Physiological Society scientific evidence supports the emotion-mind-body relationship and shows that mood, thoughts, and feelings have a profound impact on our immune system and general health.
When you laugh, it releases serotonin which is the same chemical found in most common types of antidepressants.
It’s not clear how long the effect of laughter sticks around…just think about how good you feel at least for a short time after you laugh.
The ability to laugh easily and frequently is a great way to surmount problems, enhance your relationships both of which go a long way to improve both your physical and emotional health.
And…laughter is fun, free and pretty easy to use.
Here are 3 short term benefits of laughter:
- Increases and releases endorphins: When you laugh, you breathe more which in turn stimulates your heart, lungs and muscles. When you release endorphins, you naturally feel better.
- Lowers your stress levels: Think about it…when you laugh hard, how do you feel afterwards? Most likely you still have a smile on your face and you feel more relaxed. This is because it fires up and then cools your stress levels along with decreasing your heart rate and blood pressure.
- Soothe tension. That laugh also stimulates your circulation which then causes muscle relaxation which is often a physical symptom of stress.
Here are 3 longer term benefits of laughter:
- Releases neuropeptides which benefit your immune system. When you think negative thoughts, they can create chemical reactions in the body and end up bringing more stress into your system which decreases your immunity. Laughter helps release neuropeptides that help fight stress and potentially more-serious illnesses.
- Relieve your pain. When Norman Cousins was dying back in 1964 he made it a point to add laughter to his daily routine. He said “10 minutes of laughter gave me 2 hours of pain free sleep.” Many doctors and researchers now believe that laughter can ease pain by causing the body to produce its own natural painkillers.
- A great way to connect with others When you improve your mood, you feel better and attract more happiness into your life. Laughing can also make it easier to cope with difficult situations.
Here’s a few ways you can incorporate laughter into your life
Watch funny videos: Whether you choose tik-tok or youtube, seek out funny videos to watch daily instead of gravitating to the news…even a small dose of laughter will instantly make you feel better.
Tune into your favorite sitcom or watch a comedy show. Take the time to retreat from the pressures of the real world, put your feet up and relax and watch something that will get you laughing.
Write in a gratitude journal. When you start focusing on things you’re grateful for, this will raise your energy levels in a positive way and elevate your mood.
Spend time with a pet. If you don’t have one volunteer at a shelter or visit with the pet of a friend. If you can’t do that, find some cute dog or cat videos to watch. This will easily bring a smile to your face and make you start releasing those feel-good hormones.
Loosen up and do something really silly. Maybe you might have done when you were a child.
Here’s some fun ideas:
- Skipping or jumping up and down
- talk in a funny accent
- Share a silly joke with someone
- sing really loud in the bathroom
- embarrass yourself
- roll down a hill, in the grass, leaves or the snow
The bottom line is that it’s good for your stress levels and your health to make it a practice to seek out more opportunities to add humor and laughter into your life.
By doing this, you can improve your emotional health, strengthen your relationships, find greater happiness—and even add years to your life.