July 1st is International Joke Day. That has inspired me to focus on laughter for the entire month of July.
Laugh Your Way to Good Health: The Many Health Benefits of Laughter
Everybody enjoys a good laugh, whether it’s from a sitcom on TV, a live comedy show, or because a friend made a fool of himself. When was the last time you took some time to relax and find something to laugh about? Not just any laugh, but one of those deep belly laughs that clears out your tear ducts!
If you are among the many adults who have a hard time relaxing you’ll be surprised to know that there are real health benefits to laughter. Yes, it sounds rather crazy, but your favorite sitcom can do wonders for your health!
How Can Laughter Help?
When you laugh, your body releases endorphins into the blood system. Endorphins act like natural pain killers and are also responsible for making you feel happy. The best part is endorphins are completely free of any side effects – it’s all natural! That’s why you feel a “natural high” after the right dose of laughter.
Laughing not only leads to a feeling of well being, but it can also do the following:
- Lower blood pressure – This cycle starts with the blood pressure rising when you start to laugh but then it decreases to levels below normal. When you take deep breaths while laughing, more oxygen-rich blood is transported quickly throughout your body.
- Reduce stress and increase your attentiveness, heart rate and pulse – When your heart rate and pulse is elevated, you’ll feel more energized. Of course, being more attentive can lead to better learning and growth.
- Make your heart grow stronger – For a long time now, heart specialists have established that mental stress is particularly harmful to the heart and is one of the leading causes behind the build up of fat and cholesterol in the coronary arteries. By laughing and reducing that stress on a regular basis, you’re helping your body reduce that fat buildup while reducing your risk of a heart attack.
- Lower blood sugar – Laughter helps with reducing stress and stress often leads to an increase in blood sugar levels.
Laughter as a Form of Exercise
When you throw back your head and laugh, you’re actually working your muscles from the hips to the shoulders. Since laughing involves taking in and releasing of air, the expelling of carbon dioxide and the intake of oxygen, your internal organs and core muscles get a good workout every time you laugh heartily. It may sound silly, but it’s true.
- Ever heard of “laughter yoga?” It’s a form of yoga class where you perform the regular stretches while getting silly to induce laughter. Activities range from imitating animals to speaking in gibberish. If you think this sounds odd, you’re right. It is! But we have to stop taking life so seriously and start having fun!
Improve Your Mental Health with Laughter
Everyday you’re faced with challenges and it’s completely up to you how to confront them. You can choose a positive attitude or a negative one. Laughing when faced with a challenge can help lift your mood (as well as those around you) and maybe you’ll be able to view the challenge in a positive light. This will help you reduce the stress and get things done quicker.
- Laughter is generally followed by a sense of relaxation, hence it’s a good form of stress relief.
- Use laughter as a way to reconnect with your family, especially during troubling times. When you laugh you generally talk more, make direct eye contact, and even get into closer contact.
A Laugh a Day…
Laughter has many physical benefits to your overall health and well-being but you obviously still need to exercise, eat well, and go for your routine checkups. Nevertheless, there are simply many perks to laughing and it will help you enjoy the hysterical life that surrounds you!