We’ve all heard that “laughter is the best medicine”. Many of us may roll our eyes and say “well, that’s just an old wive’s tale”, but it turns out, that’s not entirely the case! Laughter has many benefits, both mental and physical, that make it SO worth it to take some time out of your day to enjoy a few good laughs!
Laughter might not be able to cure all ailments, but according to the Mayo Clinic, there are a lot of benefits, both short-term and long-term from having a good sense of humor. The most obvious is stress relief due to the feel good endorphins your brain releases when you laugh, which I’m sure all of us have felt as an immediate effect from having a good chuckle. But did you know that when you laugh, it doesn’t just lighten your mental load, but also creates physical changes in your body.
Short term benefits of laughter (that might surprise you) are two fold. Laughter stimulates your organs because laughing increases your intake of oxygen, which stimulates your heart, lungs, and muscles! Not only that, but because those endorphins are related to stress reduction, it also relaxes your muscles, soothing muscle tension throughout your body! Laughter can also help relieve pain, both in the short-term and long-term, because it causes the body to produce its own natural “pain killers”.
Long-term benefits of laughter on a regular basis are also interesting. Laughing on a regular basis improves your outlook on life, and consistent positive thoughts can increase your immune system! Your body responds to positivity by releasing neuropeptides that, by reducing physical effects of stress on the body, increase your body’s ability to fight illness! Long-term effects of laughter also related to stress relief relate to your mood- it makes it easier to cope with difficult situations, and connect with other people (laughing together is a great way to bond with others, which helps with life satisfaction in general).
So next time you feel tense, in the dumps, or stressed out in general, make time for some humor in your life! Whether it’s your favorite funny movie or show, going to a comedy show, or just playing some fun games with friends or family, consistently adding doses of humor in your routine not only benefits you while you experience it, but has long-lasting effects that improve your quality of life. Plus, what is more fun than having a good laugh anyway? As far as self-care goes, this is probably my favorite way to be a better me!