Laughter can enhance your physical, emotional, and mental health. Laugh away!
Would you ever have guessed that laughing is good for you?
Are there serious benefits to cracking up?
Yup, it’s true; there are health benefits to laughing, and they’re nothing to laugh at. Laughter can enhance your physical, emotional, and mental health. Laugh away!
8 Ways Laughing Can Make You Healthier
- Laughter can improve your immune system, making it easier to fight off viruses and other bugs. When you laugh, your body increases immune cells, as well as antibodies, that help you fight infection.
- Laughter helps release stress and eases muscle tension throughout your body. It decreases stress hormones, such as cortisol, epinephrine, and dopamine.
- Laughter is good for your heart; when you laugh, blood flow to the heart increases, and the function of your blood vessels improves. Your lungs and muscles also get a mini workout, and after you laugh, your blood pressure can improve too.
- Laughter increases energy, which helps you accomplish more. We all know how good that feels!
- Laughter draws people together and helps you connect with others. Having an active social life can have a profound effect on every aspect of your mental and emotional health. By laughing, you bond better, strengthen relationships, attract new friends, experience enhanced teamwork, and even cool down interpersonal tension and conflict. (Of course, it goes without saying to laugh only when appropriate, and never at the expense of others.)
- Laughter acts a mood enhancer, keeping you feeling light and happy. When you laugh, your body releases endorphins, which are natural, feel-good chemicals. When endorphins course through your bloodstream, you feel good. When you’re angry, stressed, or tense, nothing works faster than a hilarious twist of events (Heaven-sent or man-made) to help you bounce back to your cheerful self.
- Laughter can act as a pain-reliever and help distract you from on ongoing or acute medical condition. Endorphins play a part in this pain relief, too.
- Laughing and keeping your sense of humor intact can aid you in keeping a positive and optimistic outlook on life, even through tough situations and disappointment. This is important for your mental and emotional health.
But I’m sad. I don’t have a good sense of humor. I just don’t feel like laughing.
- All teens sometimes feel down, sad, or disinterested. If you feel this way much of the time, please turn to a trusted adult for help. But if these moods are fleeting and occasional, don’t worry, you can use humor and laughter to get you through them. And if you don’t have a sense of humor? No problem. These ideas can help:
- Look for the funny side of whatever it is you’re going through. This can help put the issue into perspective. It might also help you move on from conflict and let go of any bitterness or resentment.
- Ever taken a laughter workshop? Use those principles in daily life; laughter is contagious and is so much more fun with others. Sit with a group of friends in a circle and start laughing, even if it’s totally fake and forced. Within moments, you’ll all be laughing — and this time, it’ll be the real thing. And even if it doesn’t work, studies have shown that even when the laughter is fake, you still get many of the health benefits of real laughter.
- When you’re about to complain about something, pause and see if you can find the ridiculousness within the frustration. You’re having a day that’s gone wrong from the very start? Is it the kind of thing on which you might be able to later “look back and laugh”? Imagine that what you’re going through could make a hysterical story later. Why not enjoy the ludicrousness in the moment, too?
- If you enjoy puns and jokes, make it a focus to find them, use them, and share them with those who can appreciate them, making your life more lighthearted as you do so.
So keep laughing!
DID YOU KNOW?
A study in Norway discovered that those with a good sense of humor outlived people who didn’t laugh as much. The study noted that this was particularity true for those battling cancer.
Using laughter to improve your health is fun, free, and always available.
Children laugh hundreds of times a day (some studies say as many as 400 times a day). Most adults laugh only around 15 times a day.
(Originally featured in Teen Pages, Issue 926)
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