You may have heard the expression, “laughter is the best medicine” and this statement could not be more true! Not only is laughter free and accessible, but did you know it has numerous physical and mental health benefits?
Laughter is truly the best form of therapy for it helps relieve stress, release anger, sadness, and tension, increase relaxation, and improve your overall mood. Laughter triggers the release of endorphins, which are chemicals released by the brain to boost pleasure and make you feel great. It also reduces cortisol, which has several health implications. Laughter is a particularly helpful tool for those who suffer from depression and anxiety and need a quick, free, and drug-free way to relieve symptoms.
When you laugh, there is an increase in oxygen, which helps stimulate your heart, lungs, and muscles. This effect causes an increase in circulation followed by the relaxation of muscles and a decrease in blood pressure. What you are left with is decreased muscle tension, physical stress, and body pain. A healthy dose of laughter can actually leave your muscles relaxed for a whole 45 minutes! This is certainly more beneficial than spending time in a jacuzzi or sauna.
Didn’t have time to exercise today? That’s okay, because laughing is actually a great abdominal and cardio workout. A study found that you can burn approximately 40 calories in a 10-15 minute bout of laughter. When you laugh, you are contracting your abdominal muscles, helping to strengthen your core. Additionally, laughing increases your heart rate and causes the lungs to draw in oxygen. Have you ever felt out of breath after a good, hearty laugh? Much like running, laughing produces a similar cardio response. While laughing should not replace regular physical activity, it certainly is a powerful enhancement to your exercise efforts.
Immunity is a hot topic right now and laughter can actually help boost your immune system. It does so by decreasing stress hormones and increasing immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies. Positive thoughts produced by laughter release neuropeptides that can help fight against free radicals and other stressors of the cells and tissues.
It is no secret that laughter has several health benefits. But what is most important is that laughing helps us live a longer, more fulfilling, and happier life. We could all use a little extra laughter in our lives, especially now. It is time to turn that frown upside down and get your laughter on. Trust me, your body and mind will thank you later.