Why Laughter is Good Medicine
The saying “laughter is the best medicine” has been around for quite some time and there are many reasons why smiling and laughter really are beneficial to the stressed out or tense body. There are hormones and feel-good chemicals released when you laugh. After a good laugh, you may feel at ease or relaxed; let’s talk about why you feel that way.
Laughter relaxes the whole body and protects the heart
When an individual has a good laugh, or hearty laugh, it helps relax the body and can keep the body relaxed for up to 45 minutes after. This puts the muscles in your body in a soothed state to release tension throughout. Laughter also improves the heart. By releasing tension in the body with a good chuckle, your blood flow in your blood vessels will improve and there will be an increase in blood flow. This helps protect the heart against heart attack and other cardiovascular issues that could arise from the body being overly burdened with tension.
Boosts immune system and helps you live longer
Laughing decreases stress hormones and increases immune cells that help fight infections in the body, known as antibodies. This improves the resistance to disease. There have been studies conducted that found people with a strong sense of humor outlive those who do not laugh as much. So, smile more and laugh often. Laughter also helps burn calories. You may notice when you have a hearty giggle that your body becomes warm. While laughing is not a replacement for going to the gym, it is good for the body to have ten or fifteen minutes a day of laughing as it can burn approximately 40 calories. In a long-term scheme of things, 40 calories a day can burn three or four pounds a year.
Endorphins help you feel good
Laughter releases the body’s feel-good chemicals known as endorphins. This gives the body an overwhelming feeling of well-being and can even temporarily relieve pain. Laughing helps with feeling angry. Sometimes laughing to remove anger is a natural body response. You may have seen someone be so irritated in a moment and immediately start laughing after a certain point of anger. This is the body’s natural response to help ease some of that anger. Everyone has their own “breaking point” when they are mad. Some black out and some laugh. Each body acts differently to receiving anger chemicals. So next time you are feeling overwhelmed with irritation or aggravation, try to find a joke or funny video to help you relieve some of that tension. Looking at the funny side of a situation can bring your problems back into perspective and you may realize it is not as angering as you once thought.
The overall mental benefits of finding a “giggle” in every day are that it simply adds more joy to your life and eases anxiety and tension in the body. Laughing also helps strengthen resilience and improves your mood. Laughing also promotes group bonding and strengthens relationships.