Laughter is a powerful stress-relief strategy that can boost your immune system and reduce your blood pressure. It also helps improve relationships and increase emotional well-being.
A good, hearty laugh relaxes the entire body, reducing stress and tension and leaving muscles relaxed for up to 45 minutes. It can even burn calories, although it’s not a substitute for other forms of exercise.
1. Boosts Your Immune System
Laughter isn’t just a great stress reliever, but it also strengthens your immune system. When you laugh, your body releases feel-good endorphins that improve your overall mood and can even dull pain.
Those same chemicals that reduce stress help to increase your immune system by stimulating the release of antibodies that can protect you from illness. Laughter also decreases cortisol levels, which is the hormone responsible for your fight or flight response.
Laughter increases your heart and breathing rates, while at the same time decreasing blood pressure. Laughing also stimulates the body to release neuropeptides, which may help improve the function of your blood vessels. Moreover, laughter and playfulness create strong emotional connections with others. So next time you’re spending time with friends, make sure to laugh together!
2. Reduces Stress
On a microscopic level, laughing decreases stress hormones and increases the body’s natural feel-good chemicals. Laughing can also lower your heart rate and blood pressure. It releases hormones that work as natural pain killers and boosts the function of immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies.
In addition, when you laugh, your brain shifts into a more expansive mindset, which can help you see a difficult situation as less of a threat and more amenable to problem-solving. And laughter can also improve your relationship with others, especially when shared together.
So, if you’re feeling stressed, reach for your favorite funny movie or text a friend a meme. It may not be easy to find the humor in a tough situation, but focusing on the positive aspects of life and spending time with friends who make you laugh are all good things.
3. Increases Endorphins
Laughter is the body’s natural way to reduce stress. It helps you relax your muscles and increases your intake of oxygen-rich air, which improves blood flow and circulation. It also triggers the release of endorphins, which are your body’s natural feel-good chemicals that help you deal with pain and boost your mood.
Moreover, laughing activates your immune system, decreases stress hormone levels and boosts infection-fighting antibodies in your body. It may even lower your risk of getting a cold.
Laughter also stimulates healing gamma waves in your brain, which are similar to the ones experienced by long-term meditators. This is likely due to the fact that laughter rebalances your nervous system and puts the brakes on defensive stress responses like the “fight or flight” response.
4. Increases Your Mood
Researchers have found that people with a good sense of humor are healthier and happier than those without. They live longer and are better able to cope with stress. They also have better relationships with others and are able to laugh at the little things in life.
When you laugh, the body releases endorphins. These are the body’s natural painkillers, reducing both physical and mental pain. Laughter can even help you overcome depression by increasing personal satisfaction and social relations.
Try to incorporate laughter, humor and play into your daily routine. Watch a funny movie or spend time with friends who make you laugh. Make a conscious effort to find things to laugh about and you will experience the physical, emotional and social benefits of laughing!
5. Helps You Deal With Pain
Studies show that laughing a lot can actually improve your mood and increase cognitive function. It can even be used to combat depression and anxiety.
Laughter stimulates the release of feel-good chemicals in your brain, called endorphins, that act as natural painkillers. These neurotransmitters work with the brain’s opiate receptors to change your perception of pain and decrease stress levels.
In addition, a good laugh increases the amount of oxygen in your blood and can lower your heart rate and blood pressure. It can also help you lose weight by reducing the production of stress hormones, which can cause people to store extra fat. Studies have found that laughing for just 15 minutes a day can burn around 40 calories. Plus, a good laugh lightens your mood and can improve your relationships with others.