Is Laughter the Best Medicine?
Simply answered, to an extent. Though laughter cannot display the medicinal mechanisms of insulin, a statin, or other prescriptions, its demonstration shows great value in a fulfilled life. If you were to research its meaning under an academic search engine, vast articles (even compelling) would emerge. Specifically, the renowned emotional effects of laughing have shown to:
Boost the Immune System
Despite the difficulty to statistically analyze humor, researchers speculate laughter may contribute to boosted immunity. Feeling happy and laughing may reduce stress levels that often impede and disrupt a well-functioning immune system. Additionally, laughter may increase infection-fighting antibiotics, therefore reducing the risk of the common cold, flu, and other illnesses.
Promote Heart Health
Like consistent aerobic exercise, laughter may promote good heart health. Available research has implied laughing can improve blood flow by dilating blood vessels, subsequently lowering blood pressure and reducing the risk of heart disease.
While swapping out a rigorous workout with a belly laugh does not necessarily provoke the same results, laughing can absolutely burn calories. In fact, a study published in the International Journal of Obesity concluded 10 to 15 minutes of genuine laughter can burn 10 to 40 calories. And though those numbers may appear miniscule, it can add up to a four-pound weight loss per year, solely initiated by the enjoyment of laughing!
If you have stepped into a children’s hospital, the sighting of a red-nosed and haired character may be in sight. Specifically, clowns have been introduced and utilized to enhance laughter among ill patients, subsequently easing pain. Along with positive emotions and stress alleviations, laughter itself may aid in pain relief, even in long-term care settings and pain management.
Support Mental Health
Mental health tends to become overshadowed by visual, physical ailments. However, internal mental illness should not go unnoticed, as it can become damaging and detrimental to overall health. But whether it be to lessen stress levels or modify a negative mood, laughter may relieve stress and improve mental health symptoms.
Improve Quality of Life
It generally goes without saying the collaboration of both good physical and mental health forms overall wellbeing. Whether a good laugh helps you get through a difficult situation or overcoming a chronic illness, its display can improve quality of life!
How to Increase Humor and Laughter in Your Life
Frown Less, Smile More
Smiling is a simple act of kindness and is just the beginning of laughter. Since smiling is said to be contagious, gift a free smile to offer “the best medicine” to others around you! Passing it on can heighten levels of happiness and have a positive effect on total happiness.
Subtract Negativity, Add Positivity
Living and taking in negativity limits the ability to attract and experience positivity. To fulfill and add more happiness and laughter in your life, remove as much negativity as possible. Although some negative circumstances cannot be changed – deadlines at work, family matters, etc. – attitudes can be modified and adapted towards them. And if stress becomes too extreme, try practicing stress-relieving techniques to ward off such negative feelings and invite positive thoughts instead. Also importantly, stray away from individuals that only add negativity within your life if at all possible.
Swap Sad Sitcoms with Funny Videos
Whether it be on YouTube or stand-up skits, comedians offer humor to their audiences. While those drama series or “chick flicks” certainly earn their place in your “watch list,” a healthy dose of funny can alter mood within just a short timeframe!
Take Life Less Seriously
The stressors of life may feel overwhelmingly serious, placing heavy weight on shoulders. But instead of putting all hands on deck, it may be worthwhile to take a step back amidst the pressure. Although it may feel like giving up in the moment, looking from afar at the bigger picture can add life perspective and contribute to a more fulfilling, happier life. And when you experience more feelings of happiness, smiling and laughing can naturally align.
It truly is okay to let loose, let go, and be silly every now and again! As children, we tended to let down guards, act in the moment, and display senseless acts. And during those moments, you more than likely smiles without much care in the world. It is absolutely okay to laugh at yourself during these moments, even if they may be embarrassing. You never know, you may be offering others around you a healthful dose of laughter!