Sharing a good laugh is enjoyable, but did you know that it can actually boost your health? Learn how the strong benefits of laughter and satire can be harnessed.
The benefits of laughter
It is true: laughter is medicine that is strong. This brings individuals together in ways that cause positive physical and emotional changes in the body. Laughter stimulates the immune system, improves mood, reduces pain, and protects you from the negative effects of stress. To get your mind and body back into harmony, nothing works more efficiently or more effectively than a good laugh. Humor makes your burdens lighter, encourages hope, links you with others, and keeps you grounded, centered, and alert. It also encourages you to relieve resentment and forgive faster.
The ability to laugh easily and regularly, with so much power to heal and refresh, is a tremendous resource for solving challenges, strengthening your relationships, and supporting both physical and emotional wellbeing. This priceless medication, best of all, is enjoyable, cheap, and easy to use.
We used to laugh hundreds of times a day as children, but as adults, life seems to be more severe and laughter more rare. But you can boost your mental wellbeing, enhance your relationships, find greater satisfaction, and even add years to your life by finding more opportunities for humor and laughter.
Laughter is good for your health
Laughter relaxes the body as a whole. A healthy, hearty laugh relieves stress and physical tension, leaving the muscles relaxed for up to 45 minutes afterwards.
The immune system is strengthened by laughter. Laughter lowers stress hormones and enhances immune cells and antibodies that combat infection, thus improving the resilience to illness.
Laughter allows endorphins, the natural feel-good chemicals in the body, to be released. Endorphins encourage an overall sense of well-being and can also alleviate pain temporarily.
Laughter safeguards the heart. Laughter enhances blood vessel function and increases the flow of blood, which can help protect you from heart disease and other cardiovascular issues.
Calories are burned by laughter. Okay, so it's no substitute for going to the gym, but one study found that laughing for 10 to 15 minutes a day would burn around 40 calories, which may be enough over the course of a year to lose three or four pounds.
Laughter lightens the heavy load of frustration. Nothing more easily diffuses frustration and conflict than a mutual laugh. Looking at the funny side will bring issues into perspective and encourage you to move on without holding on to bitterness or anger from confrontations.
Laughter may even be able to help you live longer. A research in Norway found that people who don't laugh as much outlived those with a good sense of humor. For those fighting cancer, the difference was especially noteworthy.
Laughter helps you stay mentally healthy
Laughs gives you a good feeling. And even after the laughter subsides, this good feeling stays with you. Over tough situations, disappointments, and loss, laughter helps you retain a strong, optimistic attitude.
Laughter gives you the confidence and power to discover new sources of meaning and hope, more than just a respite from sorrow and pain. Even in the most difficult of times, a joke will go a long way towards making you feel better, or even just a smile. Just hearing laughter primes your brain and prepares you to smile and join in the fun. And laughter is really contagious.
The link between laughter and mental health
Laughter avoids thoughts that are distressing. When you are smiling, you can't feel nervous, upset, or sad.
Laughter makes you recover and relax. It decreases tension and increases energy, helping you to remain concentrated and achieve more.
Laughter changes perspective, helping you to see things in a way that is more realistic and less threatening. A humorous outlook provides psychological space that can help you prevent conflict from becoming overwhelmed and diffuse.
Laughter draws you closer to others, and can have a deep influence on all facets of your emotional and mental health.
Laughter brings people together and strengthens relationships
TV sitcoms use laugh tracks for a good reason: laughter is contagious. You are more likely to laugh with other people several times than when you are home. And the more you add laughter into your own life, the better you and those around you are going to be.
In fact, most laughter does not come from hearing jokes, but rather simply from spending time with friends and family. Sharing humor is half the fun. And it is this social element that plays such a significant role in laughter's health benefits. When you take the time to really engage with them, you can't enjoy laughing with other people. You are engaged in a process that rebalances the nervous system and puts the brakes on defensive stress reactions such as 'fight or flight' when you care about someone enough to switch off your phone and really connect face to face. And if you share a laugh, you will both feel happier, more positive, and more relaxed, even if you are unable to change a stressful situation.
How laughing together can strengthen relationships
One of the most important strategies for keeping relationships new and exciting is mutual laughter. Strong and enduring friendship bonds are formed through all emotional sharing, but sharing laughter also brings joy, strength and resilience. And laughter is an important and efficient way of curing resentments, conflicts, and hurts. During tough times, laughter unites individuals.
By activating optimistic emotions and cultivating emotional bonds, humor and playful contact improve our relationships. A positive connection is formed when we laugh with one another. This bond serves as a powerful shield against tension, disputes, and anger. Humor in relationships and laughter helps you to:
Be spontaneous anymore. Humor takes you out of your mind, out of your troubles.
Let the defensiveness go. Laughter allows you to forget resentments, judgments, suspicions, and critiques.
Inhibitions against release. It's pushed aside the fear of holding back.
Share your real emotions. Emotions that are profoundly felt are allowed to come to the surface.
Use humor to resolve disagreements and tension in your relationship
Laughter is a particularly effective instrument for conflict management and stress reduction when emotions are running heavy. You should learn to use humor to smooth over conflicts, lower the stress level of everyone, and connect in a way that builds up the relationships rather than tearing them down, whether with romantic partners, friends and family, or co-workers.
How to bring more laughter into your life
Laughter is your birthright, an inherent and inborn, natural part of life. During the first weeks of life, babies begin to smile and laugh out loud within months of being born. You can learn to laugh at any point of life, even if you did not grow up in a household where laughter was a normal sound.
Start by setting special moments aside to look for humor and laughter, as you do with exercise, and develop from there. You'll want to integrate humor and laughter into the fabric of your life finally, seeing it in all naturally.
Some ways to start are here:
Smile. Smiling is the beginning of laughter and it is infectious, like laughter. Practice smiling when you look at someone or see anything even slightly appealing. Look up and smile at people you pass in the street, the person serving you a morning coffee, or the co-workers you share an elevator with, instead of looking down at your phone. Notice the effect on others.
Count the blessings. Making a list, literally. You would be distanced from negative thoughts that obstruct humor and laughter by the simple act of contemplating the positive aspects of your life. You have to go further to find humor and happiness when you are in a state of depression.
Step towards it when you hear laughter. Humor and laughter are often private, a mutual joke between a small group, but typically not. People are really happy to share something funny more frequently because it gives them a chance to laugh again and feed off the humor you find in it. Look for it when you hear a laugh, and ask, 'What's funny? ”
Spend time with entertaining, playful people. There are individuals who laugh easily, both at themselves and at the absurdities of life, and who frequently find humor in daily events. It is contagious to have their playful point of view and laughter. You should still seek out people who like to laugh and make others laugh, even if you don't consider yourself a lighthearted, funny person. Every comedian loves the crowd.
Carry into conversations laughter. "Ask people, "What's the funniest thing you've ever had today? During this week? In that life of yours? ”
So, what if you can't really "find the funny guy?" Believe it or not, without witnessing a funny incident, it is possible to laugh and simulated laughter can be just as beneficial as the real thing. It can also make it more fun and productive to exercise. A research by Georgia State University found that integrating bouts of artificial laughter into an exercise program helped improve both the mental health and aerobic endurance of older adults. Plus, even for no obvious reason, hearing others laugh can also cause real laughter.
Check for laughing yoga or laugh therapy groups to bring simulated laughter to your own life. Or you can simply start by laughing at the jokes of other people, even if you don't find them funny. It's going to make both you and the other person feel good, it's going to bring you closer together, and who knows, it could even lead to spontaneous laughter.
Tips for developing your sense of humor
Learning not to take yourself too seriously and laugh at your own faults and foibles is an important ingredient for improving your sense of humor. As much as we would like to think otherwise, from time to time, we all do foolish things. Embrace the imperfections, instead of feeling ashamed or defensive. While certain life experiences are certainly sad and not opportunities for laughter, most do not have an intense sense of either sorrow or delight. Giving you the option to laugh or not, they slip into the gray zone of ordinary life. So, if you can, choose to chuckle.
How to develop your sense of humor
Just laugh at yourself. Share your moments of humiliation. Speaking about moments when you take yourself too seriously is the perfect way to take yourself less seriously.
Attempt to laugh at events rather than mourn them. In a bad situation, look for fun and uncover the irony and the absurdity of life. Try to make it a funny anecdote that would make others laugh when something unpleasant arises.
With reminders to lighten up, surround yourself. Hold a toy in your car or on your desk. In your office, put up a funny poster. Choose a screensaver for the machine that makes you laugh. Frame pictures of you having fun with your family or friends.
Mind the funny stuff going on. Write it down or say it to someone to help you remember it if something interesting happens or you hear a joke or humorous story that you really like.
Don't linger on the negative. Try to avoid unpleasant individuals and not rely on news stories, entertainment, or interactions that make you upset or sad. Most things in life are beyond your control, especially other people's actions. Although you might think it admirable to bear the weight of the world on your shoulders, it's impractical and unhealthy in the long run.
Find your inner child. After all, they are the experts on playing, taking life lightly, and laughing at ordinary things. Pay attention to kids and try to emulate them.
Deal with tension. Stress can be a big impediment to humor and laughter, so keeping your levels of stress in check is crucial. One great strategy at the moment to alleviate stress is to draw on a favorite memory that still makes you smile, something your children did, or something amusing a friend told you, for instance.
Don't go without smiling for a day. Think of it like breakfast or exercise and make a deliberate effort to find something that makes you laugh every day. Take 10 to 15 minutes to set aside and do something you enjoy. Every day, the more you get used to smiling, the less effort you will have to make.
Using humor to overcome challenges and enhance your life
Not only does the ability to laugh, play, and have fun make life more enjoyable, but it also helps you solve challenges, engage with others, and think more creatively. People who integrate humor and play into their everyday lives discover that they and all their relationships are renewed.
Life brings obstacles that can make your creativity either get the best of you or become playthings. It can be difficult to think outside the box and find new ideas when you "become the problem" and take yourself too seriously. But you can also turn it into a chance for innovative learning when you play with the dilemma.
Playing with issues appears to come to children naturally. They turn their problems into a game when they are confused or scared, giving them a sense of control and a chance to play with new ideas. Interacting in playful ways with others helps you maintain this creative capacity.