Laughter: The Best Medicine
Sometimes you just need a little comic relief. Laughing makes us feel good— this is why we seek out funny movies, funny people, and randomly break out into bouts of laughter from time to time. For something that makes us feel so good, we should definitely be doing more of it, right? Right. The next time you seek out something to give you the giggles, think about the science behind why you’re doing it, too— it’s great for your health in more ways than just feeling wonderful.
- Better mood: Laughing for a few minutes will trigger the release of endorphins, the chemical compound in your brain that makes you feel good. If you’re having a bit of a bad day, take the first chance you can to get a good laugh session in— it may turn your mood into a better one.
- Decreases stress hormones: In the opposite token of increasing a good mood, laughter is also capable of decreasing stress hormones such as cortisol that make you feel tired, burned out, and, well, stressed. On a stressful day, give your funniest friend a call and ask them to make you laugh— it will help!
- Relaxes the body: Laughing has been linked to reducing pain and improving sleep quality. Overall, it helps to relax your mind, which eases your body into a more relaxed state, ultimately reducing pain. It may not be a substitute for treatment if you have a serious medical condition, but it can definitely help you find comfort and get some rest!
- Healthy heart: Having a “haha” moment is also great for the heart. It increases your blood flow by expanding your blood vessels, reducing your blood pressure, and increasing deep breathing— which allows your blood to become more concentrated with oxygen (that’s a good thing!).
Even more benefits to laughing are being studied, so be sure to pencil a laugh session into your day— every day. Laugh whenever the urge strikes you (unless the situation is wildly inappropriate). Search the web for things that will make you laugh. Seek out people, videos, books, or movies that align with your sense of humor— it will benefit your health in more ways than you know!