A good laugh and a long sleep can cure almost anything. This is a subject close to my heart because (as is stated on this site repeatedly) I firmly believe that health should be fun. Therefore the idea that having fun can be as beneficial for your health as eating right and exercise appeals to me. Click here to see a short video about a couple of the health benefits of laughter.
This isn’t just a hippy-dippy natural health practitioner idea though. The Mayo Clinic has published a list of both short and long term benefits of laughter and they’re, like, real doctors who don’t mess around, so you can trust this!
A good laugh has great short-term effects. When you start to laugh, it doesn’t just lighten your load mentally it actually induces physical changes in your body. Laughter can:
- Stimulate many organs. Laughter enhances your intake of oxygen-rich air, stimulates your heart, lungs and muscles, and increases the endorphins that are released by your brain.
- Activate and relieve your stress response. A rollicking laugh fires up and then cools down your stress response and increases your heart rate and blood pressure. The result? A good, relaxed feeling.
- Soothe tension. Laughter can also stimulate circulation and aid muscle relaxation, both of which help reduce some of the physical symptoms of stress.
Laughter isn’t just a quick pick-me-up, though. It’s also good for you over the long haul. Laughter may:
- Improve your immune system. Negative thoughts manifest into chemical reactions that can affect your body by bringing more stress into your system and decreasing your immunity. In contrast, positive thoughts actually release neuropeptides that help fight stress and potentially more-serious illnesses.
- Relieve pain. Laughter may ease pain by causing the body to produce its own natural painkillers. Laughter may also break the pain-spasm cycle common to some muscle disorders.
- Increase personal satisfaction. Laughter can also make it easier to cope with difficult situations. It also helps you connect with other people.
- Improve your mood. Many people experience depression, sometimes due to chronic illnesses. Laughter can help lessen your depression and anxiety and make you feel happier
Want to test if this really works? Take a look at the videos that go viral on YouTube and Facebook. Funny cats and laughing babies absolutely rule social media because they make us feel good and we want to pass it on. Laughing clubs and laughing yoga have become trendy for the same reason.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have cat videos to watch.