Is there anyone on the planet who doesn’t enjoy laughing? No matter what our predicament may be, everything seems better after a solid dose of side-splitting laughter. That’s why stand-up comedy is so popular – we just love to laugh!
But, laughing is so much better than we think it is. The benefits of laughter on both our mental and physical health are numerous. Laughter doesn’t just make us temporarily happy – it can completely transform our mindset.
Let’s take a look at exactly what laughter does for us.
Laughter Reduces Stress
If you’re feeling wound up or anxious about something, laughter can help you out. It has been scientifically proven that laughter and smiling can decrease cortisol levels – cortisol is our stress hormone. Laughter can also decrease our anger and help us overcome other powerful feelings, such as grief.
Laughter Releases Endorphins
Laughter doesn’t just counteract our negative feelings, it takes us further than neutral by helping us churn out endorphins – the chemicals in our brain that make us happy. High endorphin levels can make us feel at ease and promote a general sense of well-being and relief within us.
Laughter Decreases Physical Pain
It’s not just your mind that benefits from laughter – your body gets in on the action too. A study conducted by a team of pain experts showed that laughing not only distracted patients from their pain, but actively increased their tolerance to pain. On top of that, this increased tolerance can last for up to 20 minutes once you have stopped laughing.
Laughter Can Help You Lose Weight
Is there anything laughter can’t do? Laughing for just ten minutes each day could burn an additional 40 calories. That might not seem like much on a day to day basis but over the course of the year it could amount to around four pounds. Laughing can even tighten up your abs a little if you laugh really hard for a sustained period of time.
Laughter Boosts Your Immune System
When we laugh, we breath deeply using our diaphragm. As we breathe like this, we cleanse our lymphatic system, which increases the flow of lymphatic fluid through our lymph nodes. When we have more lymphocytes in our blood, we are better protected from disease and laughter can help this happen.
Laughter Could Stop You From Having a Heart Attack
As mentioned earlier, laughing is a great way to relieve stress. While this is good on a surface level (we are less stressed) it has fantastic knock on effects as well. Stress can be a killer and has been linked to heart attacks as well as a number of other diseases. When we reduce our stress levels, we reduce our chances of developing any of these potentially lethal diseases.
Laughter Can Help You Come to Terms With Tragedy
Virtually no-one goes through life without any sort of trauma whatsoever. Whether you have lost a loved one, gone through a terrible break-up or suffered some other tragedy, laughter can help. When we laugh through the pain, we start to see it as something we can conquer. We can take control of it and stop it from dominating our lives. Laughing away the sadness may sound cliché but it really works.