We have all heard that laughter is the best medicine, but have you ever wondered why? This is what a good laugh can do for your life.
Why Is Laughter The Best Medicine?
If you were born at any time in the last several hundred years, you’ve heard that laughter is the best medicine. Whether you find yourself laughing often or not, you most likely have found yourself wondering why laughter is always talked of in this way. Why is it so important for our health both mentally and physically?
The truth is that even though our bodies recognize it, most people don’t think of the benefits of laughter in either our physical or mental health. But laughter is beneficial for your whole body and mind in ways that you may have never thought of.
Helps You Think More Clearly
Studies have shown that people who laugh more often produce brain waves similar to those who are in a meditative state. This means that laughter can clear your mind and bring an overall sense of calm.
Think about it – how do you feel after you’ve had a good laugh? More peaceful? As if some kind of chemical reaction has occurred, whether you are aware of what it is or not?
When you laugh, you are able to induce a relaxed feeling. Whether you had been having a great day or a rough one, exposing yourself to funny people or moments of spontaneous laughter will clear your mind, if even temporarily.
Fights Negative Thoughts and Mental Health Issues
A few minutes of laughter and positive thoughts will help you to fight the negativity around you. It is just a fact, and for good reason. When you are laughing – truly laughing – it changes the chemicals being released in your body and creates a lessened stress response to the difficult situations you are managing.
When we laugh, we experience a release of endorphins as well as a release of serotonin. Endorphins occur naturally in our bodies and they make us feel better. These are the same chemicals that are released when we exercise, so the next time you don’t feel like taking a run, try watching a funny movie or funny video instead.
A boost in serotonin will help to decrease depression, as these are the body’s natural feel-good chemicals. By experiencing a hearty laugh, you can combat the feelings of loneliness, depression, anxiety, and many more mental health challenges that we experience during everyday events.
What’s more, there is some evidence to show that laughter is a treatment for PTSD. While it is not the treatment for everyone dealing with trauma, this method uses laughter therapy to change a memory of a trauma or negative experience into a memory of an emotion.
If you are dealing with PTSD, this may be a method worth asking your medical professionals about. If your medicine can be a simple act of laughter and it can truly lower your stress levels without any negative side effects, it could play an important role in your emotional health.
Provides Temporary Pain Relief
Much like the benefits that a good belly laugh has on your mental health, laughter can also provide temporary physical pain relief.
When endorphins get released, they interact with the receptors in our brain and lower physical discomfort. According to WebMD, the endorphins work in such a way that it triggers the body into a positive mode, much like the one you might feel with morphine. The big difference here is that again, you are using your own natural painkillers to assist your body rather than something that pharmacology can provide.
Whether these physical changes are short-lived or long-lasting, anyone in the medical community will support the positive emotions and physical changes that come with laughing on a daily basis. If one’s own use of humor can help to relieve physical tension and pain, it is an excellent way to improve one’s quality of life.
Reduces Stress Chemicals
Even if you don’t have a diagnosable physical or mental health challenge, we all feel stress. When you have elevated cortisol, one of the stress hormones that can be attributed to anxiety, your heart rate goes up, your blood pressure rises, and you are more apt to feel that familiar “fight, flight, or freeze” sensation.
Whether or not you are currently in a stressful situation, the benefits of laughter will slip in and interrupt the physical symptoms of stress. One of the best ways of lowering your blood pressure and creating a positive emotional climate for your body is to get in a good chuckle.
Improves Physical Health
Laughter has a myriad of good effects on your physical health. The long-term health benefits include improved blood flow, lowered blood sugar levels, a stronger immune system, muscle relaxation, better sleep, and so much more. It is a natural medicine for our bodies and you can never get too much.
Good health is challenged as we age, but playful people also tend to be more active people. Getting in a few minutes of exercise can be great for you, but there are also physical health benefits of laughter. Laughing will boost the body’s immune system to help fight disease. In the end, both will leave you with a good feeling.
Increases Relationship Strength
Laughing with loved ones or friends can increase the strength of your bond and relationship. Social laughter creates good memories together, making you more likely to want to spend time with them again and more likely to trust them.
Particularly if you’ve struggled in a relationship with someone, try to find things that you can laugh about. It is a good foundation for letting the past go and moving into the future. A playful point of view could be just the salve you need.
Helps You Make Friends
A positive and laughing person draws in others. Think about it, are you more likely to want to participate in a conversation where people are laughing or one where they are complaining? Laughter exhibits the fact that you can be a jovial, positive person, with a good sense of humor, and people want to be with someone like that.
Laughter truly can improve your mental health as well as your physical health in so many ways. It is important for social relationships and your general well-being.
Common sayings don’t become that way because they aren’t true! Remember to smile and laugh more because it will not only keep you happier and healthier, it will improve your quality of life all around.