How Laughter Keeps You Healthy

There’s never been more evidence showing the health benefits of sitting down and watching your favourite comedy. Likewise, there’s never been more evidence the benefits of having a good laugh with your friends—or even with yourself.

Many studies have shown that regular laughter presents a number of profound health benefits in both the short-term and the long-term[1] — which isn’t surprising. After all, there’s a reason we seek out things which make us laugh. It feels good

The University of Basel in Switzerland recently found that regardless of intensity, laughter (or even just smiling) can reduce stress symptoms[2] — which is just one of many health profound benefits it can provide not only in the short-term, but in the long-term as well.

Short-term effects

Physically, laughter actually increases your intake of oxygen-rich air which stimulates your muscles -as well as crucial organs like your heart and lungs – and increases the production of stress-relieving endorphins in your brain[1]. At the same time, it promotes circulation in your body which can help your muscles to relax[1]. Sounds nice, doesn’t it?

Long-term effects

Long-term, laughter helps strengthen your immune system through stimulating the production of chemicals called neuropeptides[1]. These chemicals not only fight stress, but act as natural painkillers for your body[1]. Incredible, right? Similarly, for those suffering from anxiety and/or depression, regular laughter may actually help to improve your mood and boost your self-esteem[1]. There’s never been a better reason to laugh!

How to add more laughter to your life

Luckily, there are many great ways to do this[3][4]. These include: 

  • Writing a list of things for which you are grateful 
  • Seeking out laughter when you hear it 
  • Practicing smiling at those around you (smiles put you in a laughing mood)  
  • Spending time with fun, playful people 
  • Playing with animals  
  • Watching funny movies or TV shows 
  • Faking it. Simulating laughter can have the same effect as the real thing 

So, how are you going to incorporate more laughter into your life?

References

[1] Mayo Clinic Staff. (2021). “Stress relief from laughter? It’s no joke.” Mayo Clinic. Retrieved 9 September 2021, from https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/in-depth/stress-relief/art-20044456

[2] University of Basel. (2020). “Laughter acts as a stress buffer – and even smiling helps.” Unibas.ch. Retrieved 9 September 2021, from https://www.unibas.ch/en/News-Events/News/Uni-Research/Laughter-acts-as-a-stress-buffer—and-even-smiling-helps.html.  

[3] Robinson, L. (2021). “Laughter is the Best Medicine.” HelpGuide.org. Retrieved 9 September 2021, from https://www.helpguide.org/articles/mental-health/laughter-is-the-best-medicine.htm 

[4] Gendry, S. (2021). “4 Ways to Add Laughter Into Your Life.” ACTIVE.com. Retrieved 9 September 2021, from https://www.active.com/health/articles/4-ways-to-add-laughter-into-your-life?page=1.