Keep life in balance with laughter
Whether reading the funny pages in the newspaper, watching cartoons or a funny show on television or sharing a joke, to name a few, it is important to find ways to laugh. Laughter is a powerful antidote to stress, pain, and conflict. Nothing works faster or is more dependably to bring your mind and body back into balance than a good laugh. Humor lightens your burdens, inspires hopes, connects you to others, and keeps you grounded, focused, and alert.
With so much power to heal and renew, the ability to laugh easily and frequently is a tremendous resource for surmounting problems, enhancing your relationships, and supporting both physical and emotional health.
Physical benefits of laughter worthwhile
The physical health benefits of laughter cannot be denied. Laughter boosts immunity, lowers stress hormones, decreases pain, relaxes your muscles and prevents heart disease. Laughter simply relaxes the whole body. A good, hearty laugh relieves physical tension and stress, leaving your muscles relaxed for up to 45 minutes after. Laughter decreases stress hormones and increases immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies, thus improving your resistance to disease. Laughter triggers the release of endorphins, the body’s natural feel-good chemicals. Endorphins promote an overall sense of well-being and can even temporarily relieve pain. Laughter protects the heart. It improves the function of blood vessels and increases blood flow, which can help protect you against a heart attack and other cardiovascular problems.
What happens when we laugh?
There is a physiological change that takes place when we laugh. We stretch muscles throughout our face and body, our pulse and blood pressure go up, and we breathe faster, sending more oxygen to our tissues. People who believe in the benefits of laughter say it can be like a mild workout and may offer some of the same advantages as a workout. One pioneer in laughter research, William Fry, claimed it took 10 minutes on a rowing machine for his heart rate to reach the level it would after just one minute of hearty laughter. And laughter appears to burn calories, too. Maciej Buchowski, a researcher from Vanderbilt University, conducted a small study in which he measured the amount of calories expended in laughing. It turned out that 10-15 minutes of laughter burned 50 calories. While the results are intriguing, don’t be too hasty in ditching that treadmill. One piece of chocolate has about 50 calories; at the rate of 50 calories per hour, losing one pound would require about 12 hours of concentrated laughter.
Shared laughter is wonderful
Shared laughter is one of the most effective tools for keeping relationships fresh and exciting. All emotional sharing builds strong and lasting relationship bonds, but sharing laughter and play also adds joy, vitality, and resilience. When laughter is shared, it binds people together and increases happiness and intimacy. Humor is also a powerful and effective way to heal resentments, disagreements, and hurts. Laughter unites people during difficult times. Humor is infectious. The sound of roaring laughter is far more contagious than any cough, sniffle, or sneeze.
Link between laughter and mental health is real
Laughter dissolves distressing emotions. You can’t feel anxious, angry, or sad when you’re laughing. In addition, laughter helps you relax and recharge. It reduces stress and increases energy, enabling you to stay focused and accomplish more. There is something about humor that allows perspectives to be shifted, allowing you to see situations in a more realistic, less threatening light. A humorous perspective creates psychological distance, which can help you avoid feeling overwhelmed.