When the giggle-bug hits you at an inopportune time, you know there’s no stopping it. It could be at a PTA-meeting, training conference, or in the silence of the local library. The harder you try to stop laughing, the funnier it all seems. What could be worse?
While stifling the laughter may be socially appropriate, laughter has a positive effect on your mental, emotional, and physical wellness. And that’s not something you want to suppress. The health benefits of laughter are something you want to employ consistently. You know that feeling you get after a good laugh? Your heart feels light while you feel a deep sense of joy. That’s because the act of laughing can reduce stress, relieve pain, and stimulate your organs with oxygen-rich air. The endorphins released can even improve your mood. What are some of the other health benefits of laughter you can enjoy today? Let’s take a look.
Benefits of the Funnies
We’ve heard for years that laughter is the best medicine. It turns out, besides medicine, it’s one of the best all-natural protective health strategies you can employ. According to the Journal of Cancer Science and Therapy, laughter may increase quality of life and reduce depression in cancer patients. Other documented benefits include possibly raising good cholesterol and lowering inflammation, and it also engages multiple parts of your brain, builds confidence, and maybe even generates core muscle activation.
That sounds almost as good as exercise. In fact, there are so many health perks to laughter that the University of California, San Francisco now offers Laugh Yoga, where attendees can get a workout and a dose of chuckles all in one class. Who says exercise can’t be fun?
Ways to Incorporate More Ha Ha Into Your Life
When you feel pulled in too many directions, the healing power of laughter can truly nurture your soul. Now that you know the mental and physical health benefits of laughter, you’ll be interested in learning how to laugh more often. Here are six easy ways to get your laugh on:
- Laughter really is contagious, so surround yourself with things that make you smile. Clip cartoons, photos of your loved ones laughing, or funny jokes. Replace date night’s usual dinner-and-a-movie combo with a stand-up comedy show or improv class.
- Commit to spending time with your carefree, light-hearted friends. Sharing laughter and humor builds bonds and camaraderie.
- Make lemonade—you know the philosophy about life handing you lemons. Things will go wrong. Zoom out to the big picture to look for the humor in the toughest moments.
- Practice laughter. That sounds silly, right? But, yes, that’s how it works. Fake laughter uses the same muscles and often leads to the real deal.
- Stop by the library or bookstore for a humorous tome. Ask your librarian for authors who specialize in revealing everyday life as extraordinarily hilarious. Let your kids grab a few books of knock-knock jokes and puns while you’re there.
- Engage your pet in playtime. Pets’ natural antics are perfect fodder for laughter. If you don’t have a pet, take a five-minute YouTube break for funny animal videos. From goat kids’ high-flying twists to kittens being … well, kittens, you’ll be sharing a laugh in no time.
Whether you chuckle, giggle, or all-out belly laugh, weaving laughter into your day lifts your spirit and delivers lasting health benefits. And don’t forget laughter’s contagious properties—share your funnies with your friends on Twitter!
Image sources: Bethany Johnson | Flickr
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