Have you ever had a tough day and instantly felt better after a good laugh? Laughter is healing, rejuvenating, and cultivates positivity, so it’s no surprise that science backs up the claim that “laughter is the best medicine.” Sometimes all it takes to perk yourself up is a fit of laughter, and in today’s busy world, we could all use some more chuckles.
Health Benefits of Laughter that Are No Joke
Laughter is full of mental and physical health benefits to help you live a happier, healthier life. Here are seven reasons to laugh more each day.
1. Laughter reduces stress.
How do you feel after giggling about something hilarious? Happier? More at ease? Laughing activates the body’s stress response, then decreases it, which causes your heart rate and blood pressure to rise then fall. The effect of laughter on the body results in decreased stress, less worry, and more happiness.
2. Laughter releases endorphins.
According to ScienceDaily, laughter releases endorphins, or “feel-good hormones,” into regions of the brain that are responsible for emotion. Also, endorphins interact with opioid receptors in the brain that promote feelings of pleasure. Science shows that people with more opioid receptors are more inclined to laugh. So, the more you laugh, the happier you’ll feel, and the happier you feel, the more you’ll laugh.
3. Laughter boosts your immune system.
Have you ever gotten sick after a period of prolonged stress? Stress is tough on the body, and chronic stress and tension can weaken the immune system. Since laughter decreases stress and increases positive emotions, you can count on laughter to strengthen immunity as well. In addition to protecting your body from common ailments, the effects of laughter go much further. According to a study from the Western Kentucky University School of Nursing, laughing may increase natural killer cells in the body, which attack cancer cells.
4. Laughter protects your heart.
Show your heart some love by laughing more each day. Laughing boosts cardiovascular health by lowering blood pressure, improving blood vessel functionality, and increasing blood flow. Laughter also gets your heart pumping and can burn nearly as many calories per hour as walking.
5. Laughter improves job performance.
Yes, you read that right. Work should be fun, and psychologists agree. Laughing enhances job satisfaction and performance, especially for those who work in creative fields or rely on their critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Laughing increases engagement, creativity, productivity, collaboration, and well-being while relieving stress and boredom. Laughter also brings people together, which cultivates a positive work environment and culture.
6. Laughter fosters connection.
Humans are naturally social creatures with an inherent desire to develop meaningful bonds, so why not laugh our way through life, together? Laughing with others can naturally foster connections as well as strengthen existing relationships. Some researchers believe that the most important function of laughter is to help people form relationships.
7. Laughter improves quality of life.
Laughter makes us feel good. It eases stress, worry, and anxiety that weigh the body down and helps us think more positive thoughts. Having an optimistic outlook can enhance your quality of life and ability to cope through difficult situations. Laughing may even help you live longer. According to Norwegian researchers, women with a strong sense of humor live longer in spite of illnesses, especially infections and cardiovascular disease. They also found that cheerful men were more protected against infections.
5 Ways to Bring More Laughter into Your Life
1. Smile more.
Laughing starts with smiling, so practice smiling more and taking note of how your body feels. The simple muscle action of smiling can make you feel more joyful. Try it out!
2. Surround yourself with people who have a sense of humor.
Laughter is contagious, and spending time with light-hearted, playful people is an excellent way to take life less seriously and crack more jokes.
3. Start a gratitude practice.
Write a short list of 3-5 things that you’re grateful for each day to remind yourself of the good aspects of your life. Gratitude helps us focus on positivity and create more space for happiness and laughter.
4. Spend time with pets.
Pets are hilarious, and spending time with them is an easy way to bring laughter to your life. If you have a furry friend, try to prioritize playtime with them. You’ll both reap plenty of benefits from the extra fun. Plus, pets are excellent companions and always know how to make us smile. If you don’t own a pet, check out volunteering opportunities at your local animal shelter or offer to pet sit for a friend.
5. Do more of what makes you laugh.
Think about the times when you have laughed the hardest and try to repeat those experiences. Maybe you were with a particular friend, watching a comedy show, or having a hysterical conversation. Discover what makes you belly laugh and have those moments as frequently as possible.
How are you going to incorporate more laughter into your life? Let us know in the comments below. Then, find out how you (and your wallet) can become even happier with an affordable short-term health insurance plan from Vera Health. Vera helps you get insured on your own terms with lower monthly premiums than many ACA-compliant major medical plans, so you can pay for the coverage you want, not the coverage you don’t. Get in touch with one of our friendly Vera Health experts to learn more about our customized plans. Give us a call at 844-228-5897 to learn more about Vera. No mystery, no fluff, no hassle.