Yesterday was World Happiness Day and it made me realize that although we all have our crappy days and moments, life also often gives us the opportunity to crack a smile on occasion. It comes in different forms, sometimes it is through a romantic comedy (Thanks, Hugh Grant), and other times, it is through the antics of a child, either way, we get opportunities to laugh, smile and be happy in spite of whatever it is that we may be going through, and that’s a good thing because laughter really does have it’s health benefits, and it might be one of the strongest antibiotics out there. Personally, anyone who knows me well knows that I love to laugh. I don’t know why I am easily amused, but laughter gets me through some of my toughest days. Perhaps I owe it to behavioral genetics, or perhaps I am just a jolly good fellow (lady), but laughing has always been my favorite remedy for life’s toughest blows, and with good reason too. According to research carried out by medical researchers, laughter can be used as a tool to cure or at least reduce the blows that a decline in mental health can have on us. Laughter can also help to overcome life’s toughest challenges. Although the challenge in this can be finding the joy when life seems gloomy and bleak because let’s face it, life is a bitch; it exposes us to so much pain and anguish and sometimes it’s easy to throw in the towel and say: “you know what? I give up?”, but is that really the answer? No.
Here are a few reasons why laughter is the sweetest medicine for your mind, body and soul.
A wonderful Antidote for Pain
Laughter acts as a wonderful antidote to stress, pain (both physical and emotional), and inter-relational conflict. No medicine works faster or more efficiently to bring your mind and body back into a balanced equilibrium than a good and hearty laugh. Humor tends to have such a positive effect on the body because it lightens your burdens, inspires dreams and prospects, and connects you to the world around you through others. Laughter can help to keep you grounded, focused, and more alert to your immediate environment. It can also really helps you to relieve anger and invite forgiveness. Because Laughter has so much power to heal and renew, the ability to laugh easily and frequently is a wonderful resource for eradicating problems, enhancing our closest relationships, as well as supporting your physical and emotional well being. The best thing about laughter in its entirety is the fact that it is a priceless medicine that is fun, free, and easy to use with no instructions or prescriptions!
Laughter is Amazing for Your Heart
Laughter helps to relax and soothe the whole body. A good, hearty laugh helps to immediately relieve physical tension and stress, therefore leaving the muscles in your body relaxed for up to fifty minutes. Laughter also plays a big role in boosting the immune system and it does this by decreasing the stress hormones in the body and increasing the immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies in the body, therefore improving your resistance to external ailments and diseases. Laughter also triggers the release of endorphins in the body, endorphins happen to be one of the body’s natural feel-good chemicals. They promote an overall sense of well-being within the body and can even work to temporarily relieve pain.
Finally, laughter protects the heart, and it does this by improving the function of blood vessels and also increases active blood flow to the heart, which can help to protect you against a heart attack and other health problems related to the heart.
It may Help You Live Longer
Although it is no replacement for an intense insanity work out with Shaun T or a regular trip to the gym, laughter can help to burn off calories. A recent study discovered that laughing for a period of ten to fifteen minutes daily can help an individual burn about 40 calories, which could be enough to actively lose about three or four pounds over the course three hundred and sixty five days (basically over the course of a year). Laughter also helps to lighten anger’s heavy load. Nothing diffuses anger and conflict faster than a shared laugh. Like I mentioned earlier, life is set up in such a way that we have to use our emotions, we must feel pain, anger disappointment and every other emotion in between but in the midst of all the yucky feelings and motions that we go through as humans, looking at the funny side can help to put certain problems into perspective and enable you to move on from confrontations and difficult situations without necessarily holding onto bitterness, resentment or wrongs, and this could significantly improve your mental health and strength.Laughter may also even help you to live longer. A recent study that was carried out in Norway discovered that people who had a strong and solid sense of humor outlived those who did not laugh as much, and the difference was particularly notable for those battling cancer. This says a lot, doesn’t it?
Laughter Boosts Your Mental Health
Like I mentioned earlier, laughter makes you feel good and this happens because endorphins are released during the act of laughing. The good feeling that you derive from laughing usually stays with you for a while even after the laughter withers. Good humor helps you to keep an optimistic outlook through difficult situations, disappointments, and loss. Laughter is more than just a remedy for sadness and pain, it also gives you the inspiration and strength to find new avenues of meaning and hope. Even in the most difficult of times, a laugh–or even crack of a smile–can go a long way toward soothing the situation and making it all better. Additionally, laughter is a really contagious act because as soon as a person hears another person laugh, it immediately brightens up their mood and readies you to smile as well.
The main link between laughter and mental health is that it has the strong ability to stop distressing emotions. It is almost impossible to have feelings of anxiety, anger or depressions when you’re laughing because it helps you relax and recharge. It reduces stress, increases energy and enables a person to stay focused and carry out more tasks effectively. I personally found out that the best workplaces where I was fully able to focus and get steady work done were the workplaces where I tended to laugh a lot with my co-workers, and this helped my work to go much more smoothly. Laughter also shifts perspective, allowing you to see situations in a more realistic and less threatening light. A humorous perspective creates a psychological distance and helps to gauge negative emotions, which can, in turn, help you to avoid feeling overwhelmed and diffuse conflict and that is why laughter is such a powerful tool for building and maintaining different types of relationships at all levels. Finally, it draws you closer to those closes to you and this can have a profound effect on all aspects of your mental and emotional health. Keep laughing, and keep eating your veggies, they’re both good for you.