For many years, people have been saying the phrase, "Laughter is the best medicine," again and again. But can laughter really benefit your body in any way? Humour is infectious. The roaring laugh of many people is so contagious that it can bring a whole group of people to near-tear laughter. When you laugh with someone, it strengthens your relationship with them and it binds you together. By laughing, your happiness is increased as well as your intimacy and connection with others. Laughing can lighten up a room and bring a warm smile to everyone's faces. The best part is that laughing can do so much more than that. Apart from being one of the best feelings in the world, here are 13 health benefits of laughter.
Laughter heals your body and mind
1. Live longer - a study in the Archives of General Psychiatry shows that elderly people who are optimistic or who expected good things to happen were more likely to live longer than those who think badly about the future.
2. Lowers blood pressure - people who laugh more are less likely to experience strokes, heart attacks, and other cardiovascular problems. A good laugh increases your blood pressure at first, but then it is decreased and regulated.
3. Relaxes the body - it has been scientifically shown that a good laugh significantly reduces stress and relieves physical tension so much that your muscles stay relaxed for up to 45 minutes after.
4. Reduce stress hormone - when you laugh, your stress hormone levels are reduced while your feel-good hormones are increased. As a result, you're less likely to feel anxiety and stress throughout the day.
5. Boost your immune system - The reduced stress hormone levels in your body due to laughing results to a higher immune system performance. Not only that, but laughing can also increase the number of T cells in your body. These T cells are responsible for a number of immune system responses including antibody production. Thus, you're less likely to experience coughs and colds when you laugh more often.
6. Relieve pain - as your stress hormones go down, your feel-good hormones go up. These hormones are called endorphins and they promote an overall sense of well-being. They can even temporarily relieve pain.
7. Internal workout - a good laugh provides a good internal workout for a couple of muscles in your body. Laughing can exercise the muscles in your stomach in a similar way with intentionally exercising your abs. Laughing can also get your heart pumping so you can get as much cardio workout as you do when you walk at a slow to moderate pace. Your diaphragms are also exercising, as well as your shoulders, leaving your muscles more relaxed afterwards.
8. Improve breathing - laughing is a great way to cleanse your lungs. When you laugh, your lungs empties out and replaces more air resulting to a cleansing effect. This is especially helpful for people with respiratory ailments such as asthma.
9. Helps you lose weight - laughter can help burn a few calories, although those may not be of much help if you really want to lose weight. However, laughing can help speed up your metabolism as well. This way, you can burn calories faster.
Laughter helps you stay emotionally healthy
10. Laughter relieves distressing emotions - because laughing reduces stress hormones, you feel happier, less angry, less stressed, and less sad when you're laughing.
11. Reduces depression - laughter has long been known to help people who are feeling depressed. In fact, a study published in Geriatrics and Gerontology International found that elderly patients reduced depression through laughter therapy.
12. Boosts relationships - sharing a laugh is a great way to build and maintain a healthy relationship. Having good social relationships reduces your risks of depression and anxiety so laugh with someone to keep your relationship running smoothly.
13. Shifts perspective - when you have a great humor and you laugh more, you are more likely to see even distressing situations in a less threatening light. This keeps you from getting overwhelmed and helps you handle situations better without getting anxious or stressed.
I hope you’re laughing so much that you get to enjoy these benefits of humor every day! Tell us something funny — an interesting quirk about yourself, fun story, or good joke — in the comments below.