The Benefits of Laughter

Did you know that a good laugh can come with health benefits? Here is what you should know about making it part of your day.

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Girl laughing with fluffy white dog outdoor
Image courtesy of Kosamtu from Getty Images Pro.

As we grow into adults, we gain more responsibility, and sometimes with that responsibility, life can get a little more serious.  However, laughter functions as an antidote to conflict, stress and even discomfort. It lightens the mood, strengthens the immune system, allows for social connections, and helps with anger-release and forgiveness. These benefits can keep you focused, motivated and grounded. Since it’s free, everyone can obtain these healthy emotional and physical changes.

How can you measure the physical effects? Since it enhances infection-fighting antibodies and immune cells while diminishing stress hormones, laughter provides disease-resistance. Muscles relax during a good laugh and stay that way for over 30 minutes after. This relieves anxiety and physical tension. Laughter improves cardiovascular health because it enhances blood flow by refining the relevant vessels.

Emotionally and mentally, laughing makes you feel good but not just for the moment. The positivity can remain long after. This simple act can stop negative emotions, including sadness, anger and anxiety. Since it allows for revitalization and relaxation, it can lead to energy surges and reduced tension. You have the freedom to achieve more because of sharpened focus and less stress.

Humour makes it easier to deal with challenges, including loss and discontent. The act of laughing can generate a psychological distance from these situations. Since mirth can diffuse conflict, it fortifies relationships and brings individuals together. When you feel less overwhelmed, you attract better people.

It’s no wonder that TV sitcoms use laugh tracks continuously. Laughter has a social aspect and it’s contagious. When you hear someone laugh, you’re likely to do it too. Shared humor brings vitality and joy into your life, and it bonds individuals throughout challenging times.

With all these benefits, many individuals don’t get to enjoy a lot of mirth. It’s difficult to laugh when you’re by yourself or spend time with stressed-out people.

How to feel happy

To change how you’re feeling, play with pets.  Pets make us laugh because they can be unpredictable and silly. They entertain us with their playful nature and creative problem solving skills. One of the biggest reasons dogs in particular make us laugh is their animated human-like expressions and antics.  For example, how often have you and your Partner ended up laughing when something that was obviously your Partner’s doing, but instead you ended up redirecting blame on the dog – it can be something as mundane as remembering to replace the bin liners. 

“The benefits that dogs also have on building a positive company culture by encouraging humour in the workplace and breaking down barriers between staff are a major reason why we’re seeing an increase in dog-friendly workplaces across Australia,” PetCloud‘s CEO, Deb Morrison shares.

Kids can also unintentionally cause fits of laughter with their innocent reasoning, and being carefree and living in the present. You can also feel happier by attending local laughter yoga classes, read the funny sections in newspapers and enjoy fun activities. You can even host game nights. When interacting with others, ask them about funny things that happened to them. When someone tells a joke, laugh out loud, even if you don’t find it funny.

Even if you think you have a serious personality or don’t have happy people in your life, you can become more lighthearted. You’ll gain the benefits of improved mental, emotional and physical health. This newfound zest for life won’t go unnoticed and can draw you closer to people who enjoy this free medicine.

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