Laughter really can be the best form of life medicine
One of the best feelings in the world is a good, authentic laugh. It can bring people together and establish amazing connections. Everything from a little giggle to a side-splitting cackle can change the mood of a room. Some days it’s hard not to laugh when you have kids!
As children, we used to easily laugh hundreds of times a day, but as adults, life tends to get serious, making laughter much more infrequent. However, by seeking out opportunities in everyday life for humour and laughter, you can improve your emotional health, strengthen your relationships, find greater happiness—and even add years to your life.
Laughter and Health
It’s fun to share a good laugh, but did you know it can actually improve your health?
It’s true – laughter is strong medicine. Laughter can lead to a longer life as a result of:
- – enhanced moods
- – decreases in blood pressure
- – decreases in stress-related hormones
- – reduced levels of anxiety and depression
- – decreased hunger hormones
- – lower good cholesterol and higher good cholesterol levels
- – overall increased immunity
Nothing works faster or more dependably to bring your mind and body back into balance than a good laugh. Humour lightens your burdens, inspires hope, and keeps you grounded, focused, and alert. It also helps you release anger and forgive sooner. But how?
Well, laughter actually orients the brain to a positive mindset, with regular laughter and smiling actually changing the brain’s chemistry.
Another important part of this is learning to laugh at yourself, as this approach to laughter in life also assists in adjusting to stress and adversity. Ever had nervous laughter in an awkward or difficult situation? This is because laughter helps shift difficult emotions, freeing the body and mind of stress.
Lastly, laughing can tone your abs, give you a low impact cardio workout and can help ease physical pain through the release of endorphins – the body’s natural feel-good chemical.
Laughter and Learning
As toddlers, we learn new tasks more easily when we are happy and laughing. This is because laughter has the same effect on the brain as meditation, providing clarity and focus.
This translates into later-life learning also, where studies have shown that learning ability and memory recall was better in older adults when humour was involved.
Moreover, when teachers include humour in their teaching styles (whether in the classroom or virtually), they are better able to engage with their students, which results in better learning outcomes.
When we are trying to learn something new, we usually are pretty serious, but a good laugh while learning new material will help you engage with it more.
Laughter and Relationships
There’s a good reason why TV sitcoms use laugh tracks: laughter is contagious. We are actually 30 times more likely to laugh at something when we are with other people than when we are alone.
When we share a laugh with someone, it brings them closer together, even if you were previously strangers. In addition, strangers are more like to open up if they are made to laugh first.
When we laugh with one another, a positive bond is created. This bond acts as a strong buffer against stress, disagreements, and disappointment. In addition, sharing a laugh with someone you are already close to can:
- – encourage attraction
- – strengthen the relationship by keeping things fresh and exciting
- – create memories that improve relationship satisfaction when remembered
Laughter is an especially powerful tool for managing conflict and reducing tension when emotions are running high. It’s very hard for two people who laugh together to feel any animosity towards one another.
At work, it has been shown that leaders showing a sense of humour inspire innovation amongst their colleagues. Sharing a laugh also assists the group dynamics within a team.
10 Ways To Get Your Giggle On More
You don’t need to perform a comedy routine, but if you already know how to make someone laugh, see if you can increase how often you do it. In addition, here are 10 quick ways to share laughter with those around you:
- 1. Find the humour in daily situations and share it with a friend or family member
- 2. Watch your favourite stand-up comedian on YouTube/Netflix
- 3. Listen to a funny podcast together
- 4. Go out with friends for a karaoke night
- 5. Re-watch a comedy sitcom or movie that always cracks you both up
- 6. Play with a dog together (even if you have to borrow one from a friend)
- 7. Look through old photos together
- 8. Find humour in your most embarrassing moments and share the story with a close friend
- 9. Read through the humour cards in a gift shop together
- 10. Just watch your kids together!
Laughter is contagious, so spend time with people who laugh and smile more – even anticipating a laugh can provide some of the above benefits, so plan some funny.
With so much power to heal and renew, the ability to laugh easily and frequently is a tremendous resource for handling problems, enhancing your relationships, and supporting both physical and emotional health. Best of all, this priceless medicine is fun, free, and easy to use.