Who doesn’t love a good laugh? We all do and for good reason. There aren’t too many other things that you can do that feel good and are good for you at the same time.
Laughing is not just a fun way to kill time. It has neuropsychological benefits, including improving your mood, exercising your brain, decreasing pain, and strengthening your immune system and bonds with people with whom you share a giggle.
1. Laughter releases feel-good endorphins into your system, which actually decreases pain and significantly increases pain thresholds.
2. Laughter can help protect your heart by increasing blood flow and improving the function of blood vessels.
3. Laughter relaxes your whole body for up to 45 minutes after a good laugh.
4. Laughter lowers blood pressure and stress levels.
5. Laughter can increase intimacy and improve relationships.
HOW TO USE LAUGHTER TO IMPROVE YOUR MENTAL HEALTH
The use of humor has proven effective in formal therapies for serious mental conditions. Other therapeutic practices incorporating laughter have popped up over the last decade, like laughter yoga. You can include laughter in your daily mental health routine to help ward off depression and stay balanced or just spontaneously whenever your mood needs a lift. Some ways to do that are:
Keep an eye out for the silly side of life
Try to intentionally notice the silly, unexpected, or funny stuff in your daily life. Savour it, think about it and commit it to memory for when you need a laugh in the future. The most recent time I can remember laughing really hard – I mean tears-rolling-down-my-cheeks-hard – was when my son and I were plunging a stopped up toilet. Who knew those circumstances could be a side splitter?
Reframe unpleasant situations with humor
Try to see the humor in an otherwise unpleasant or embarrassing situation. So, you knocked over your wine glass with an overly demonstrative hand gesture on a first-date dinner. Well, at least you made an impression! Or, maybe you farted in yoga class. Oops. You’re not the first one to ever do that and isn’t it just a little bit funny?
Unfortunately, you can’t physically tickle yourself. Research shows that your brain needs tension and surprise for tickling to work – which you obviously don’t have when you try to do it yourself. Laughter is also almost impossible to control consciously. It’s very hard to laugh on command. You can, however, tickle your own funny bone by watching your favorite funny movies, videos, or television shows.