As a certified laughter coach one of the questions I always get asked is ‘is laughing good for you?’. And my response is always a big, belly-full yes! Over the years numerous scientific studies has shown that laughter is one of the best things we can all do on a regular basis that will help our health and well-being. When you laugh it is physically and mentally impossible to focus on anything but the laugh that is racking your body. That’s why a good laugh, even for a few minutes, can help us forget the worries and fears that may be flooding our minds with negative impulses.
Laughter yoga uses planned, simulated laughter as a form of physical exercise. During a session, a specialist practitioner guides the group through a variety of playful activities designed to encourage intentional laughter. This involves everything from clapping, chatting and chanting, to acting out visualisations. As you can imagine, it’s easy for these self-initiated giggling fits to turn into genuine, contagious guffawing as the session goes on. Laughter Yoga is a great way to force your body and mind to laugh, even when you feel you might not be in the mood.
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If you needed another reason to laugh more, here are six ways that laughing is good for you.
Supports Your Immune System
Laughing increases your immune cells and antibodies. These are immune responses that help combat infection. So, the more you laugh, the better your resistance to illness and disease will be. When thinking about how to strengthen your immune system, laughter isn’t usually the first thing that comes to mind. But if you can harness the power of laughter and humor, you can support your immune system. Research shows that laughing increases blood flow and helps blood vessels to function better. This helps to speed up wound healing and can also help protect you against cardiovascular disease.
When you laugh, it triggers the release of endorphins. Endorphins are chemicals that your body produces. As your brain interacts with these endorphins, it can reduce your perception of pain. So, a good chuckle produces these natural painkillers that can make you feel good, can promote well-being, and may even temporarily relieve pain.
Relieves Stress Naturally
Laughter may be the stress reduction technique you didn’t know you need. When you laugh, it not only lightens your mood a little, but physical changes start to occur throughout your body. Laughing can do wonders for stress, both in the short term and long term. Even a small laugh can activate and relieve your stress response and help you feel a bit more relaxed. In the long term, laughing can be good for you by improving your mood, boosting your immune system, and allowing you to connect with people more easily.
Boosts Your Mood
Laughter can be an excellent mood booster. Firstly, it releases endorphins, which are great for making you feel better. But research shows that laughing can alter dopamine and serotonin activity, too. It can decrease stress levels and even release the neurotransmitter dopamine. Dopamine serves as a reward for your brain, helping to elevate your mood.
A study in Norway found that women with a good sense of humor lived longer in spite of illness, especially cardiovascular disease and infection. Interestingly, the difference was particularly noticeable in people battling cancer.
Doctors have found that people who laugh more have a more positive outlook on life. This helps to increase their overall sense of well-being and gives them the ability to fight off disease more effectively. So laughing is good for what ails you, and it appears to go hand in hand with living longer.
It turns out you’re not just happier together, but healthier. Laughter benefits social interactions and helps you build relationships and connections. When you laugh with someone, it improves empathy and cooperation between different people. It also fosters a good level of communication, which can result in a less-aggressive approach during a tense situation.
Laughter can do wonders for romance and bonding in general. A good sense of humor and laughter can be a very attractive quality in a partner. One study shows that laughter increases people’s willingness to talk about a sensitive subject. The ability to be able to speak about sensitive issues may allow you to seek help more quickly as well as improve your relationships.
How to Laugh More Every Day
Although sometimes it can feel like laughter is hard to come by, it really can offer a ton of benefits. In the same way getting plenty of sleep, eating well, and drinking water is on the to-do list for healthy living, laughing every day should be a priority. While it’s easy to feel down with the chaos around, you must find ways to be positive and get your chuckles on.
One way to laugh more is to try laughter yoga. The idea behind it is that you force laughter through specific exercises, and eventually you end up laughing for real. Studies show that laughter yoga effectively reduces stress and anxiety and allows you to focus on the present.
Other ways to laugh more every day include:
Watch funny movies and TV shows.
Make an intention to laugh more.
Play games with your friends.
Read a funny book.
Laughing is something we can all do, even when we might not feel like it. By forcing ourselves to laugh we can release all of the great health benefits I’ve listed here today. So go on, what are you waiting for, have a great laugh today!