Who doesn’t enjoy a good laugh? A really good, belly-aching laugh? We’ve all heard the saying that laughter is the best medicine, but have you ever stopped to think about what laughter does for your physical, mental, and emotional health? As it turns out, laughter has a whole host of benefits for your mental and physical health, from reducing stress to boosting your immune system.
What is laughter exactly?
Laughter is a response to stimuli that causes a physical reaction in the body. This reaction is often rhythmical and audible, and it is caused by the contractions of the diaphragm and other parts of the respiratory system.
Laughter is a social phenomenon; we often laugh in response to something someone else has said or done. Laughter is also contagious—if you hear someone else laughing, you will likely start laughing too!
Laughter reduces stress and improves mental health.
There are many different theories about why we laugh, but the most widely accepted one is that laughter is a way of releasing tension and stress. When you laugh, your body releases endorphins: These hormones have a mood-boosting effect, act as a natural antidepressant, and act as natural painkillers. Endorphins help boost your immune system and can reduce the stress hormones in your body, such as cortisol. Endorphins can also help to improve cognitive function and memory.
Laughter boosts your immune system.
Laughter has also been shown to have positive effects on the immune system. Laughter can increase the number of immune cells in the body and help to fight off infections. One antibody that increases when you laugh is called immunoglobulin A (IgA). IgA is an antibody that helps to fight against infectious organisms that you come into contact with via the respiratory tract, such as colds and other illnesses.
Laughter is good for your heart.
Laughter positively affects your cardiovascular health such as reducing blood pressure, increasing blood flow, and reducing stress hormones. One study found that laughter can be a significant way to prevent heart disease, showing that people who had a sense of humor and laughed more frequently had lower levels of bad cholesterol and were more likely to have higher levels of good cholesterol.
So what do all of these benefits mean for you? Quite simply, that laughter is one of the best things you can do for your health! Not only does it make you feel good mentally and emotionally, but it also has a host of positive effects on your physical health as well. So go ahead and laugh—it’s good for you!
Here are a few jokes to end on a funny note:
“Two hunters are out in the woods when one of them collapses. He’s not breathing and his eyes are glazed. The other guy whips out his cell phone and calls 911.
‘I think my friend is dead!’ he yells. ‘What can I do?’
The operator says, ‘Calm down. First, let’s make sure he’s dead.’
There’s a silence, then a shot. Back on the phone, the guy says, ‘OK, now what?'” – Reader’s Digest
“A vegan said to me, ‘People who sell meat are gross!’
I said, ‘People who sell veggies are grocer.’” – Adele Cliff, comedian
“I tried to organize a hide-and-seek tournament, but it was a complete failure. Good players are hard to find.” – Reddit.com