Who doesn’t love a good belly laugh? You know the kind that makes your stomach ache, your cheeks hurt and your eyes water? Well, not only is laughing fun, laughing makes you healthier.
What happens when we laugh?
A good laugh can give you many of the benefits of a mild workout. William Fry, a pioneer of laughter research, claimed that one minute of hearty laughter raised his heart rate to the same level it reached after ten minutes on a rowing machine.
Laughing stretches our muscles, speeds up our pulse and increases our breathing, sending more oxygen throughout our body.
In another study, laughing helped lower the blood sugar of diabetic patients.
Health Benefits of Laughter
Laughter makes you feel better in the moment, and also has long-term benefits:
- It reduces stress hormones in the body by releasing endorphins in the brain.
- It can lower blood pressure.
- It improves alertness, creativity and memory.
- Laughter increases the intake of oxygen while also stimulating the heart, lungs and blood vessels.
- It improves the immune system.
- It helps the body produce natural painkillers.
- Laughing helps you get through tough situations and enables the body and mind to relax.
Give Yourself a Dose of Laughter
It’s easy to incorporate some healthy laughter into your day. Consider these ideas:
- Hang up silly pictures of your family and friends, comic strips or jokes around your home and office.
- Look for the silver lining or comical aspects of everyday struggles. Associate yourself with others who try to do the same, rather than those who tend to focus on the negative.
- Whenever you feel overwhelmed or negative, watch a funny movie or television show, or play with your children or pet.
- Buy a joke book or find an author whose writing you find humorous.
- Host a game night with family and friends.
- Listen to a comedy CD on your commute to and from work.
- Don’t take yourself too seriously; know when you need to relax.
While this evidence isn’t conclusive and there are no exhaustive studies proving that laughing makes you healthier, regular fun and laughter certainly improves your quality of life.
So, spread some laughter today to benefit your health and the health of those around you!