Hanging out with your friends or family is often enough to have a good time and feed yourself. Chances are high that someone is going to say or do something silly and you will have some great laughs. Perhaps you are just watching a great comedy movie or television show and it puts a smile on your face and causes you to laugh. It does not matter what makes you laugh, when you do laugh it simply makes you feel good. Aside from strengthening relationships and increasing your level of comfort in certain situations, every time you laugh there are chemicals released that play an important role in boosting your health. When someone says laughter is the best medicine, they are not that far off as laughter really does have some great health benefits. Here are 14 health benefits that come from simply having a good laugh every once in a while.
1. Boosts Immunity
Your immune system is extremely important to your overall health. The good news is, simply laughing can give your immune system a boost. Most people think that they need to take supplements, make sure to get lots of rest, work out regularly, and get plenty of vitamin D. While these are all important for your immune system, it turns out that laughter is just as good for you. One study that was published by the National Cancer Institute found that people who laugh on a regular basis decrease hormones related to stress inside their bodies. In addition, laughter will increase the number of natural killer cells and activated T cells, which are two things that can truly help your body stay healthy and strong. If you are feeling sick or down, try watching a favorite comedy and having a good laugh. There is a good chance that it will make you feel a little bit better.
Have you ever laughed so hard you felt sore? A good belly laugh is almost as good as a good workout. In fact, it is a workout. There is a reason that you will feel sore after you have a good long laugh. Researchers have found that laughing, the physically intense whole body laughing, actually provides you with a mini-workout. This workout is very similar to doing aerobic exercises. Laughing hard will boost your respiratory rate, heart rate, and increase your oxygen consumption. Having a good hard laugh can give you some of the same benefits as a decent workout. However, the exercise benefits of laughing only come when you have periods of really intense laughter. Unfortunately, this means that sitting around watching funny videos is not going to be able to replace your real workouts. Even if laughter cannot replace your workouts, it can provide you with a few of the benefits and a lot more fun.
3. Improves Heart Health
One of the parts of your body that loves laughter is the heart. Since your heart is a very important part of your body, it is important to make sure that you are doing all that you can in order to keep it healthy. While exercising and eating healthy foods are important for keeping your heart healthy, it turns out that laughing regularly is just as important for your heart health. The Cleveland Clinic found that laughing will immediately increase the blood flow to your heart. In the same way that aerobic exercise increases your blood flow to this important organ, laughter has the same effect. Getting that surge of extra blood flow to your heart on a regular basis can help reduce many scary heart-related issues. So, next time you want to feel good and boost your heart health, have a good laugh with some friends. Tell some jokes or watch a comedy, use the excuse that it is good for your heart.
4. Relieves Stress
There is nothing quite like a good laugh to help alleviate tension and stress. When you are feeling stressed, it can cause damage to your body. In fact, stress can cause many different health issues and most people do not realize this. If you are feeling stressed and simply need to relax, have a good laugh. The giggles can instantly relieve the stress response of the body and help to soothe any type of tension that you are holding inside. In addition, laughter during stressful times can help improve your mood. When your mood improves it is much easier to handle the problems that you might be facing. While laughter cannot solve all of your problems, it can help you feel better about the things that you are dealing with and make it a bit easier to move on and overcome the obstacles you might be facing.
5. Clears the Mind
Are you a writer and have writer’s block? Perhaps you are just experiencing random brain fog. You walk into a room and forget what you went in there for. If this sounds familiar, there is some good news, laughter can help. The FASEB Journal published an article in 2016 that found that simple laughter can put your brain back into a state where you are able to think more clearly. If you are struggling to focus or simply have a case of brain fog, pop in a favorite comedy or watch a funny video and you might just be able to get your brain back into focus so that you can get your work done. Even if you are still feeling a bit of brain fog, you are going to feel better after you have a good laugh, so it is not going to hurt anything at all. Take the time to laugh and regroup and move on with your day with your brain in better focus.
6. Pain Killer
hances are when you have been hurt someone has told you to smile through it. There is also a good chance that you have taken a fall or bumped your arm or leg and even though it really hurts, you laugh at how clumsy you are. It turns out that laughter can be a great way to reduce the amount of pain that you are feeling. When you laugh your body releases endorphins that can help you feel better. While it may not be possible to truly laugh when you are in extreme amounts of pain, at least trying to smile and lighten the mood can go a long way in making you feel better. Have your friends tell you jokes or laugh with them about something dumb you have done. You will be surprised at how much better it can make you feel when you are experiencing any type of pain.
There are days when you are feeling very creative and are accomplishing tasks that you may not have thought you could. Then there are other days when you simply feel like you do not have a creative bone in your body. You might be struggling through ideas and feel like there is no way that you can accomplish the tasks that you set out to do because you are simply not feeling creative. If you are stuck in a rut and want to boost your creativity, try laughing. A little bit of humor can help to loosen up your mind. When you laugh you tend to be more relaxed and emotionally you feel a bit safer. When you are feeling relaxed and safe, your brain has more power to be more creative. If you are putting off a project because of a lack of creativity, a good laugh with some friends might be all that you need to get rolling again.
8. Calorie Burner
Exercise is the most well-known way to burn calories. It is likely that you wear a tracker that tells you exactly how many calories that you burn during a workout. Perhaps you even count the calories that you eat. When it comes to staying healthy, chances are high that calories are going to come up in the conversation. One more great thing about laughter is that a secret health benefit of laughing is that you actually burn calories while you are doing it. Laughing for just ten to fifteen minutes a day can burn anywhere from ten to forty calories. If you have some good deep belly laughs, you are going to burn even more calories. While burning forty calories does not seem like a lot, it translates to losing about four pounds a year. This is just one more reason to make sure that you are filling your life with laughter.
9. Lowers Blood Pressure
As mentioned, laughing reduces stress. One of the main causes of high blood pressure is stress. High blood pressure often is viewed as not a big deal. However, it can lead to many health issues including increasing the risk of developing heart disease and possibly having a stroke. The Journal of Research in Medical Science published a study that found that the act of simply laughing can actually help keep your blood pressure low. Once again, laughter helps to relax your body and relieves tension and stress that you may be holding onto. If you have been told that you have high blood pressure, try adding some good quality laughter to your life. Lighten up and tell some jokes. Make it a point to watch some comedies. Spend time with people who make you feel good. All of these things can go a long way when it comes to lowering your blood pressure.
10. Helps Ease Depression
Depression causes an overwhelming feeling of sadness. When a person is depressed, one of the last things that they will want to do is laugh. In fact, it can be difficult to find something that you even feel like laughing about. However, if you are suffering from depression or simply just feeling depressed, try to find something that will make you laugh. You might have to work at it and you might have to force that first giggle, but doing this can go a long way in alleviating some of the symptoms you are experiencing as the result of depression. One study conducted by the Journal of Alternative Medicine found that just three-hour-long laughter therapy sessions were enough to improve the mood states and the self-esteem of the participants. If you are diagnosed with depression, you might just want to ask about some laugh therapy sessions to help.
11. Helps with Memory Loss
Over time your memory is likely to get worse. This is just really something that comes with age. Almost everyone experiences some form of memory loss throughout their life. It could be as simple as not remembering where you put something. Memory loss can become severe in some people and result in dementia. While laughter is not a cure for Alzheimer’s or Dementia, it can help combat memory loss. One study done by researchers from Experimental Biology found that watching a 20-minute humorous video before taking a memory test helped older adults score better when compared to people who did not watch the video. Once again, laughter has proven to be good for the health of your brain, which is why it is important to make sure that you are taking time to giggle and have some fun in your life. Your brain will thank you for this later.
12. Improves Function of Blood Vessels
The main job of your blood vessels is to transport blood all over your body and to keep everything running smoothly and properly. When you are stressed, your blood vessels will restrict. This makes it harder for blood to get to the areas of the body that need it. Once again, laughter can help. When you laugh your blood vessels will expand, which makes it easier for the blood to flow throughout the body and to the areas that it needs to be. Laughter causes you to relax more and feel better, when this occurs your blood vessels become healthier because they do not have to work as hard to get your blood throughout your body. Making the blood vessel’s job easier means that the vessels are going to be healthier overall. So if you are feeling stressed, laugh a little and improve your blood flow. Your body will thank you.
13. Reduces Inflammation
When it comes to health issues, most people do not realize that inflammation is often the main cause. Inflammation can occur anywhere in the body and causes many common health ailments. Heart disease and diabetes are common results of inflammation within the body. Heart attacks are caused when a blood clot prevents blood from getting through the body and to the heart. A person who has diabetes also has an increased risk of blood clots and heart attacks. Research has found that laughter can be used as a part of diabetic care as laughter improves good cholesterol throughout the body and helps to lower inflammation. Lowering inflammation is important in keeping the heart happy and healthier and since the heart is important for your overall health you should be doing all that you can to keep it healthy. Eating well, exercising, and having a good laugh are great ways to keep your heart happy.
14. Helps you Through Tough Times
Life is hard and there are many times that you are going to struggle with things. Deaths of family members or close friends occur. There are sad times, stressful times, and times that you may just feel down. When you are feeling like this it can be difficult to see the good and the funny. However, if you can take a moment to reflect on good and happy times and remember all of those things, it can go a long way when it comes to getting you through those times that are a bit tougher. Finding a way to laugh during tough times can be extremely beneficial. Good endorphins are released, stress is released, and you will feel better overall. This doesn’t mean that you will not still feel sad, but laughing can help the pain or sadness not be as tough to get through.