‘Laughter is the best medicine.’ This saying is one you have probably heard, and there is a good reason why it is said so often. Health experts have long been supporting the effects of laughter and its positivity on our health.
Whether it be loud belly-laughs while watching your favorite sitcom or comedian, or a silent chuckle after seeing a funny meme while scrolling your social media feed, laughter and smiles play a big role in our overall wellness.
Science has revealed several positive physical advantages of letting our simple chortle or belly-laugh rip. Apart from physical benefits, our mental health greatly improves too.
Here are just some of the ways laughing can improve our health:
It is proven that laughing at a joke can instantly lift our spirits. Being in that positive state of mind makes it almost impossible to feel angry or sad. Laughter and smiles trigger the release of the body’s feel-good hormones called endorphins. This can promote a more positive sense of self and can help decrease stress hormones such as cortisol, which can affect both our mental health and also our physical health.
Lowers Blood Pressure
When we are stressed, our body releases stress hormones, such as adrenalin and cortisol which increase the heart rate. As a result, our blood pressure spikes. Like most occurrences, this is okay occasionally. But when our blood pressure is constantly elevated it can have grave effects on our cardiovascular system. One easy and effective way to lower blood pressure is to have a good hearty laugh.
Laughter immediately decreases levels of the stress hormones while increasing circulation and improving the function of blood vessels. Laughter also promotes a healthy heart by reducing inflammation of the arteries and helping produce more high-density lipoprotein (HDL), otherwise known as the ‘good’ cholesterol.
Boosts Immune System
Laughter is a natural way to boost your immune system! That’s because laughter decreases the stress hormones and allows antibodies and immune cells to increase. Therefore, laughing can help you fight diseases and infections by increasing your body’s natural defenses.
Stress can cause our muscles to tense up, causing muscle aches and headaches. Laughter allows us to relax and soothe the tension that we are feeling. By releasing the tension caused by stress, our blood circulation improves and the muscles relax, easing whatever physical discomfort we may be feeling rapidly.
Plus, a good bout of boisterous laughter increases our oxygen consumption and respiratory rate. This helps us breathe better, which automatically makes us feel more at ease.
Sharing a good laugh with another person not only strengthens your interpersonal relationships but can also help relieve pain. This has been researched and shown in studies.
One study revealed that our pain threshold can increase when we are having a good time with others. Laughter was also one of the earliest forms of pain relief used in the 14th century.
Being happy and feeling positive not only makes our body and mind healthier, but it can also increase our resilience. This is because a positive mindset allows us to shift our mind from seeing only the negative in any situation. Laughter shifts our perspective to see a lighter side of any situation. This can make us stronger and more emotionally equipped to handle any challenges that we may encounter.
We have all experienced the mood-altering benefits of laughter, but we often don’t realize the health advantages it brings too. It’s easy to feel the ‘good’ changes in mood, such as removing the anxiety and stress and replacing it with calm. It’s just not as easy feeling your body making you healthier.
The good news is that everyone is capable of having a good laugh to improve their health and wellbeing. A little bit of humor can help us live a happier, longer life, and that’s no joke. So, start smiling and laughing whenever possible and see and feel the difference it can make in your life.