Ever heard the old saying “laughter is the best medicine”? Have you ever stopped to think about just how true that really is? Over the years, research has shown the numerous benefits one can reap from simply laughing. Many of the health benefits of laughter may simply result from the social support that laughter ignites. Let’s look at the different areas in your life that may benefit from laughing.
Shared laughter is a great way to keep relationships new and exciting as well as adding happiness and liveliness. Laughter can help to build and/or fix a positive emotional atmosphere and a bond between two people. Some also believe that laughter is important in bringing two people together. For example, humour is a powerful and effective way to defuse anger and anxiety and, in doing so, it can pave the path to intimacy and uniting people during difficult times.
Humour and laughing can also strengthen the bond between two people by causing positive feelings and encouraging an emotional relationship. When two people laugh with one another, a positive connection is created. This connection helps to protect against stress, disagreements and disappointment.
Laughing together can promote better communication which, in turn, leads to a less hostile environment in tense situations, greatly improving the relationship and understanding between people of different backgrounds. Deliberately laughing has also been shown to be beneficial for very diverse groups due to its mutual and comprehensive nature – laughing is an activity that everybody can engage in as a group, creating a sense of belonging.
Laughter is an effective remedy to stress by decreasing stress hormones, as well as improving intolerance to pain. Laughing also releases endorphins which are neurotransmitters that aid in pain relief. But that’s not all, endorphins are also linked to feelings of happiness, change in appetite, memory, and controlling body temperature. The release of endorphins has also been shown to lower blood pressure and to improve the immune system and infection-fighting antibodies, improving your resistance to disease. It reduces blood sugar levels, increasing glucose tolerance in diabetics and nondiabetics alike.
Research has also shown that laughter helps your blood vessels to function better. This can help to protect you against a heart attack and other cardiovascular problems by encouraging blood to travel to organs that require a good flow of oxygen.
Laughing can help make it easier to deal with and get through tough times. It can also help to promote connection with other people. As mentioned earlier, it also helps to relieve stress as well as anxiety.
As mentioned earlier, endorphins that are released during laughing can promote feelings of happiness which can help protect against depression and anxiety and may improve your mood.
With so many different functions and benefits, being able to regularly and easily laugh is a great way to help overcome difficulties, better relationships, as well as improving both physical and psychological health. This remedy is fun, free, and best of all, no instructions needed.
Written by Alannagh Kelly, Assistant Psychologist