Laughter and your health
“Laughter is good medicine,” the saying goes. It may be more truth than fable. Read on to learn about health benefits of laughing.
“I believe that if people can get more laughter in their lives, they are a lot better off. They might be healthier, too,” according to Steve Wilson, MA, CSP, a psychologist and chairman of World Laughter Tour. According to research by Wilson and by the Mayo Clinic, laughter may help
- Overcome mental blocks. Laughter stimulates circulation and aids muscle relaxation, making it easier to cope with difficult situations. As anxiety clears, you can problem-solve more effectively.
- Improve your immune system. Positive thoughts release neuropeptides, chemicals that help fight stress and potentially block other illnesses.
- Relieve pain. Although no conclusive evidence suggests how, some studies have indicated that laughter can reduce chronic pain, helping patients feel relaxed and sleep more easily.
- Make you feel happier. There’s a biological reason laughter makes you feel happier. It stretches muscles, pouring more oxygen to your tissues, and releases endorphins, creating a euphoria similar to a “runner’s high.”
- Increase your sociability. Psychologists find that laughter is primarily a social activity and bonds groups and people together.
Crack a Smile
Not feeling funny? You can prompt laughter using these simple tips:
- Fake it till you make it. When facing a difficult circumstance, fake a laugh. After a few minutes of faking it, spontaneous laughter often erupts!
- Choose funny. Read a comic strip or try an internet humor site. Keep a joke-book on hand. Pick a go-to comedy that never fails to make you laugh.
- Find funny friends. Surround yourself with people who have positive humor. Find friends who can laugh at themselves and see the humor in tense situations.