Laughing feels good. Is it also good for you?
Sometimes the stresses of life can make us forget what’s funny and we lose the ability to laugh as much. The average child laughs over 400 times a day, while adults only laugh around 15! When did we get so serious?
To combat the burdens associated with jobs, mortgages, bills and kids, and to give ourselves a good old-fashioned charge of positivity, experts say the benefits of laughter are hardly something we should be laughing off.
- Laughing relaxes the whole body. A good, hearty laugh relieves physical tension and stress, leaving your muscles relaxed for up to 45 minutes afterward.
- It also helps boosts the immune system, decreases stress hormones and increases immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies, thus improving your resistance to disease.
- We all know laughter triggers the release of endorphins, the body’s natural feel-good chemicals. Endorphins promote an overall sense of well-being and can even temporarily relieve pain.
- Laughter protects the heart—improving the function of blood vessels—and increases blood flow, which can help protect you against a heart attack and other cardiovascular problems.
- Laugh at yourself. Share your embarrassing moments. The best way to take yourself less seriously is to talk about times when you took yourself too seriously.
- Attempt to laugh at situations rather than bemoan them. Look for the humor in a bad situation, and uncover the irony and absurdity of life. This will help improve your mood and the mood of those around you.
- Surround yourself with reminders to lighten up. Keep a toy on your desk or in your car. Put up a funny poster in your office. Choose a computer screensaver that makes you laugh. Frame photos of you and your family or friends having fun.
- Keep things in perspective. Many things in life are beyond your control—particularly the behavior of other people. While you might think taking the weight of the world on your shoulders is admirable, in the long run it’s unrealistic, unproductive, unhealthy and even egotistical.
- Deal with your stress. Stress is a major impediment to humor and laughter.
- Pay attention to children and emulate them. They are the experts on playing, taking life lightly and laughing.