When it comes to relieving stress, we often think of anti-stress plants, relaxation techniques and meditation. But in fact, we have everything on us to get there in the most pleasant way possible, through laughter.
Whether you’re chuckling at a sitcom on television or quietly laughing at a cartoon, laughing makes you feel good. Laughter is a great form of stress relief, and it’s no joke.
Relieve stress with laughter
A good sense of humor can’t cure all ills, but data is mounting on the health benefits that laughter brings.
The short term benefits:
A good laugh has great short-term effects. When you start laughing, it not only lightens your mental load, but it also induces physical changes in your body. Laughter can:
– Stimulate many organs. Laughter increases your air and therefore oxygen consumption, stimulates your heart, your lungs, your muscles, and increases the endorphins that are released by your brain.
– Activate and relieve your stress response. Laughter improves your stress response, and it can increase and then decrease your heart rate and blood pressure. The result ? A feeling of relaxation.
– Ease the tension. Laughter can also stimulate circulation and promote muscle relaxation, both of which can help reduce some of the physical symptoms of stress.
The long term effects:
But laughter isn’t just a quick pick-me-up. It’s also good for you in the long run. Laughter can:
– Improve your immune system. Negative thoughts manifest as chemical reactions that can affect your body by bringing more stress into your system and lowering your immunity. In contrast, positive thoughts can actually release neuropeptides that help fight stress and potentially more serious illnesses.
– Ease the pain. Laughter can relieve pain by causing the body to produce its own natural painkillers.
– Increase personal satisfaction. Laughter can also make it easier to deal with difficult situations. It also helps you connect with other people.
– Improve your mood. Many people suffer from depression, sometimes due to chronic illnesses. Laughter can help ease your depression and anxiety and make you happier.
Improve your sense of humor, it can be learned
Are you afraid of having an underdeveloped or non-existent sense of humor? No problem. Humor can be learned. In fact, it may be easier than you think to develop or refine your sense of humor.
– Put humor within your reach. Find a few simple objects, such as photos, greeting cards, or comics, that make you laugh. Then hang them at home or in the office. Keep movies, books, magazines, or comedy videos handy for those times when you need a little extra humor. Check online prank sites. Go to a comedy club.
– Laugh and the world will laugh with you. Find a way to laugh at your own situations and watch your stress melt away. Even if it seems forced at first, practice laughing. It does your body good.
Consider trying laughter yoga. In laughter yoga, people practice laughter in groups. At first, the laughter is forced, but it can quickly turn into spontaneous laughter.
– Share a laugh. Make a habit of spending time with friends who make you laugh. Then reciprocate by sharing funny stories or jokes with those around you.
– Knock Knock. Browse your local bookstore or library’s selection of joke books and add a few jokes to your list that you can share with your friends.
– Know what’s not funny. Do not laugh at the expense of others. Some forms of humor are not appropriate. Use your best judgment to tell a good joke from a bad or hurtful one.
Try to laugh alone, just to make you feel good
Go ahead, try. Turn the corners of your mouth into a smile and laugh, even if it feels a bit forced. Once you’ve had your chuckle, take stock of your state of mind. Are your muscles a little less tense? Do you feel more relaxed or more buoyant? It’s the natural wonder of laughter at work.