We all know and love the feeling of a good laugh. There is something deeply therapeutic and rejuvenating when we burst out into a laughing fit. But can moments of pure belly laughter actually be good for your health? Yes, they really can. It’s a free remedy that does not require a subscription or even a trip to the doctor’s office. Plus, it’s contagious. Laughter: the best medicine.
Laugh More — Live Longer
It’s said that those who laugh and laugh often are more likely to live a happier and even longer life. There’s no denying that sharing in a good laugh with friends or a loved one can bring about an instant mood shift. But the benefits of getting more laughter in your life can have a profound impact on your overall health and wellbeing. Take a look at the science of laughter. When we laugh, we release feel-good endorphins and reduce stress-causing hormones such as cortisol, similarly to what happens in our bodies when we exercise. High doses of cortisol can lead to weight gain, poor sleep quality, and reduced energy levels. And while it certainly will not replace your normal exercise routine, a good laugh burns calories and evens tones the abdominal muscles.
Research suggests that over time, laughter can also increase our pain tolerance because when we laugh, we produce natural painkillers in the body. The contraction in the lungs and diaphragm causes the heart to start pumping, which replenishes circulation and improves blood flow. Plus, aside from the many physical benefits, laughter allows us to develop a more positive perspective and deeper connection with others. Who can be fearful or angry after a nice long laugh? The immediate spark of joy reminds us to lighten up and to not take life so seriously. With each giggle, anxiety and fear dissolve. When we laugh we are consciously redirecting our mental state, thus releasing stress and elevating our mood. It seems obvious that the more humor in your life, the happier you will be. In times of stress or turmoil, something as simple as watching a funny television show or chuckling with a good friend can be an instant mood changer. When you find yourself in a moment of inner turmoil wondering what is the quickest way to de-stress, laughter is the best medicine and foolproof remedy. When we engage in more laughter, we are able to see things from a more positive perspective. We connect to the inner child in us who is more playful and embraces a state of wonder over a state of fear. Things just flow easier when we are more cheerful.
It’s No Joke
Research shows that those who maintain a more positive outlook can handle stress better and boost their overall immunity. After all, what we think we become. The more we consciously choose happier thoughts, the happier we will be. Recent research has found that the mind can have a powerful effect on the body. Those who remain optimists during stressful situations were found to be more solution-oriented. It was even reported that those with a more positive outlook experienced better cardiovascular health and increase their longevity. No one is exempt from experiencing hardship in life. Even the most positive people deal with strain and stressful situations. But it’s our ability to turn these moments of contention around and switch the narrative into one that’s more opportunistic that makes a world of difference. So you may find yourself asking what the antidote is to a long day or a stressful week. How can we transmute feelings of anxiety? The answer? Laughter. It is the best medicine.
Yoga Makes Me Laugh
If you are looking for ways to incorporate more laughter into your life, look no further than your yoga practice, where you can experience balance in your mental and physical self while getting in a good giggle. Yes, as surprising as it may sound, yoga and laughter are combining to create a therapeutic experience that has many feeling revitalized and in better health.
It’s no secret that yoga has a multitude of health benefits including physical strength, longevity, peace of mind, and overall immunity. But a new style known as Laughter Yoga has recently emerged, further proving that laughter is the best medicine.
A recent article from CNN featured a studio in Georgia offering such a class, where students left the practice feeling invigorated, calm and with a deeper sense of connection to fellow students. Incorporating deep breathing practices, laughter, and exercise, Laughter Yoga was found to boost immunity as it releases endorphins through playfulness and joyful expression. And, not surprisingly, forced laughter usually turned into genuine laughter.
According to Laughter Yoga University, this style of yoga was developed by a medical doctor in India and is based on the idea that the body is unable to distinguish between fake or real laughter. So, in this case, laughter is the best medicine even if initially forced. The body is essentially tricked into thinking that it’s experiencing authentic laughter, thus stimulating powerful healing both physically and mentally.
But you do not have to step inside a yoga studio to experience the healing benefits of laughter. Surrounding yourself with the people who lift your spirits and bring humor into your life can be a perfect antidote. Laughter is contagious and best when shared. It’s a universal language that connects people through the power of optimism and cheer. When we laugh together in community we inherently lift each other’s spirits and diffuse the negative feelings that make us feel isolated or scared.
Seek out the experiences that simply make you laugh and you are sure to experience a shift in your mental, emotional, and physical state. Prioritize humor in your life. Read a funny book or go see a comedy show. The more playfulness and fun you incorporate into your life, the more you will truly realize that laughter is the best medicine.
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