Have you had a good belly laugh today? We all have a couple of powerful health tools inside of us that need to be released regularly – laughter and a sense of humor. There is nothing quite as contagious and as much fun as the bonding of boisterous laughter among friends. A good sense of humor and the ability to laugh in all situations is the tie that binds us together increasing happiness and flooding us with a tremendous amount of feel-good endorphins.
This priceless fun and free gift we all possess can be used anytime, anywhere to get us through the toughest situations in life in addition to boosting the joy we feel when times are good.
Laughter and humor are also vital tools in supporting our health both physically and emotionally. Learning to “laugh in the face of danger” can aid us in our quest to become and remain as healthy as we can. This powerful antidote can work wonders in relieving stress and pain and is a tremendous resource we can rely on during difficult situations.
What exactly does laughter and having a healthy sense of humor do for our health? Why is it so good for us to have the ability to find humor and to laugh out loud?
· It relaxes the body
Have you ever had a really good belly laugh engaging not just your smile but your entire body? The kind where you feel like you just ran a mile but your feel great! That hearty fit of laughter relieves physical tension relaxing muscles for up to 45 minutes later.
· Boosts the immune system
Our immune system can use all the boosting it can get and what a more fun way to do so than to laugh – frequently. When we laugh it decreases stress hormones while increasing immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies making you more resistant to disease.
· Triggers the release of endorphins
The feel-good chemicals of endorphins have that special ability to relive pain and promote an overall sense of well-being and peace.
· Laughter protects the heart
Laughing it up is one way to get and keep a strong heart. When we laugh it improves the function of blood vessels increasing blood flow which can protect against a heart attack or other cardiovascular issues. Yucking it up can also lower systolic blood pressure and lowers bad cholesterol while raising good cholesterol.
The emotional and mental benefits are another area laughter and humor can improve:
· Improves mood
· Relieves stress and increases energy
· Reduces anxiety and fear
· Adds joy and zest to life
· Enhances resilience
· Reduces negative emotions – it’s hard to feel angry, anxious or sad when laughing
· Helps you see situations in a more realistic, less threatening light
Agood sense of humor and a quick laugh also benefit us socially:
· Makes us attractive to others
· Strengthens relationships
· Enhances teamwork with others
· Defuses conflicts
· Promotes bonding with others
From the earliest of our beginning to the day we die, laughter and a witty humor are a natural
part of life. One of the most precious moments in the first few weeks after a baby is born are
parents waiting anxiously for that first sign of a smile from their newborn. When it happens, it’s
one of the most joyous moments for everyone.
Each day we need to find opportunities to laugh. If it has become difficult to find things that are humorous or get you laughing, hang around funny people, go to a comedy club, goof around with kids, or make time for fun activities.
Also remember that taking ourselves too seriously can shut down laughter very quickly. Life is too short to take everything with somberness. Lighten up, develop your sense of humor and remember what the French poet and novelist Victor Hugo once said, “Laughter is the sun that drives winter from the human face.” Put on a smile, laugh more and you’ll be spreading happiness to everyone around you.