“A day without laughter is a day wasted.” – Charlie Chaplin
Laughing releases endorphins
Alexander Lowen, a pioneer in bioenergetics therapy, describes laughter in his book “The healing power of Laughter” “as a way of healing the body through the spontaneous release of energy.” Lowen believes that laughter manages this through releasing tension, endorphin and encouraging respiration.
Endorphins are natural chemicals in our bodies, which when being released create a feeling of relaxation and well-being while at the same time being able to reduce pain temporarily.
Norman Cousins wrote in his book “Anatomy of an Illness” (“As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.”) about the positive effects of using laughter as a tool to relieve his server pain, which he had due to a degenerative disease. He stated that ten minutes of laughing could relieve his own pain for up to two hours.
Laughter helps us reduce anger
No matter if you are mad at yourself or someone else. Having a good laugh and trying to see the humor in the situation can significantly help you calm down and see the situation in a different light. A wonderful laugh can instantly change your complete mood. It helps you to take a step back, calm down and then re-examine the conflict with less heightened emotions. It has the power to make any situation look less serious.
Besides, if there were two of you being mad at each other, having a good laugh together might already straighten out the whole conflict on its own.
Not only can you not stay mad when laughing, but you can also not feel sad or depressed at the same time.
Laughter is a great method to overcome grief and sadness.
Subscribe to a funny YouTube channel, have your favorite comedian or funny TV show always at hand. Set a contagious laughter as your alarm and ringtone. Maybe even follow a humorous Facebook page. Anything that will make it easy for you to turn to when needing a quick, heartfelt laugh.
A great example of how fast laughter can change your mood is watching a great movie. Some movies have the ability to move us so deeply that our tears start rolling in one moment and just a few seconds later, something funny happens in the same movie that makes us laugh and we have already forgotten about our tears again.
Just take a movie we all know too well: Disney’s Lion King. Remember how sad it is when Mufasa dies and Simba is led to believe it would be his fault? I still feel heartbroken every time I watch the movie! But then, later in the movie when Timon and Pumbaa’s scenes come up, I can’t help but at least giggle and smile a little if I am not back to laughing already anyways.
A good laugh hugely boosts our energy levels. Have you ever felt sleepy or out of energy when someone all of a sudden made you laugh? Do you remember how awake and energized you felt after? Even if you were thinking about heading straight to bed just a few minutes ago, after a good laugh you are far from feeling tired. On the contrary, you might even have enough energy again to go back to the kitchen and cook yourself a little midnight snack instead. And then, when you are finally tired and ready to sleep again, you will fall asleep with that smile on your face knowing that tonight you will surely sleep very well.
Laughter is my favorite belly exercise
Would you love to have a six-pack? Try laughing as much as possible on a daily basis. A good belly laugh exercises the diaphragm, contracts the abs (in the same manner as sit-ups and crunches), works out the shoulders, and provides a good workout for the heart (since it improves the function of blood vessels and increases blood flow, which may help protect you against a heart attack and other cardiovascular problems).
According to a study by the International Journal of Obesity, a good 15 minutes laugh can even burn between ten to forty calories, while at the same time not leaving you with the feeling of having done any proper “exercise” but rather having grated yourself a nice treat.
Mind you, ten to forty calories might not replace any other regular exercise, but if you continue to have at least one good laugh a day over the course of a year, this could result in easily losing three or four pounds (approximately between 1.3 and 1.8 kg) without really having to work for it.
Laughter strengthens the immune system
Bennet M, Zeller J conducted a study of cancer patients at the Western Kentucky University, which implies that humor generates “increased immune function” and therefore can be a highly effective complementary medicine as laughter decreases stress hormones, increases immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies, i.e., improving your resistance to disease.
Laughter is a natural stress releaser
Have you ever realized how tensed shoulders seem to instantly relax and release the tension when laughing? A good laugh is a wonderful method to loosen tensed muscles.
When we laugh, it not only releases endorphins but also decreases the cortisol levels. Cortisol is also widely known as the stress hormone. Less cortisol means less stress and less stress means better health, better days, better life.
Did you know that a good laugh can leave your muscles relaxed even up to 45 minutes after!?
Needless to say that a better day and a better life do not only happen because of the fact that the cortisol levels are lower when laughing, but also the sheer fact that laughing is simply a lot of fun. I mean, whoever said they had a bad day after having fun on that day, right!?
The more you laugh in your daily life, the more positive you will experience your daily life, which is why those who laugh more often are supposed to have an overall more optimistic outlook on life.
Another great benefit of this is that if you have an optimistic outlook on life and a positive mindset, you are also more likely to be a confident individual with a healthy level of self-esteem since as we all know, those who enjoy life usually also feel comfortable about themselves. If you are able to laugh about yourself every once in a while you are better equipped to handle minor setbacks in life in a positive manner. You should have no difficulties handling most of the situations and challenges life may throw your way. Laughing something off prevents you from holding on to small issues for longer than actually necessary. You do something “not so smart” you laugh about it and make yourself feel good instead of letting it tear you down. It happens to all of us every once in a while anyway. As much as we would like to believe otherwise, we all do foolish things from time to time. Instead of feeling embarrassed or defensive, embrace your imperfections. Simply laugh and move on with a smile.
Oh, and before I forget to mention, laughter is also a great way to shift your mood from being demotivated to being motivated. This is due to the fact that laughter not only releases endorphins and decreases cortisol levels as previously mentioned, but it also releases the hormones dopamine and serotonin, two neurotransmitters that are in charge of our motivation and like to balance out our moods.
I used to love using this to my advantage back in university when studying for my exams. I had a study partner, and we had the rule that whenever we both take a break and feel a lack of motivation to continue studying, we would tell each other jokes until we both laugh and then we would both get back to work with a smile on our faces highly motivated to study our asses off.
Which after having a good laugh even worked better than before since you guessed it right, laughter not only releases endorphins, dopamine, serotonin and decreases cortisol, no, it also releases another neurotransmitter which is called catecholamine. Catecholamine is a hormone that takes part in crucial brain functions, such as movement, cognition, emotions, learning, and memory. Therefore, the perfect hormone to be triggered when studying for your exams (or wanting to learn and memorize anything more easy and efficient).
Consequently, laughter is also a great way to teach information.
We all know that funny things are the easiest to remember. So, if you are trying to teach something to other people, you might want to implement some humor in your teachings. Maybe explain something with the help of a funny cartoon scene or a joke. People will enjoy your teachings a lot more if they not only learn in your class but also get to enjoy a good laugh. Besides the already previously mentioned fact that due to the laughter, they will also be able to memorize your teachings a lot easier.
Another wonderful benefit of laughter is that it easily breaks the ice between people. Being able to make others laugh is an amazing social skill that has the possibility to even make strangers feel close in a very short period of time. Whenever two or more people all laugh at something funny, they create a bond of having the same sense of humor. By sharing a good laugh with others, you are creating and sharing positive social experiences. No matter if you are sharing the laugh with strangers, co-workers, friends or family. If you know how to make people smile or laugh, you have already gained one of the most important social skills out there. And, even if you are not blessed with a wonderful skill to make others laugh, don’t worry, you can still make them and yourself laugh by getting them to tell something funny. No, don’t just ask them to tell a joke. A lot of people, unfortunately, are not good at coming up with jokes on the spot. Instead, simply ask them what was the funniest thing that happened to them today, or this week, this month, etc.
Did you ever notice the laugh tracks TV sitcoms use?
The great thing about laughter is that it is contagious. So in case you hear those laugh tracks, consciously as well as subconsciously, you are highly more likely to laugh than without hearing “others” laugh. Just hearing laughter primes your brain and readies you to smile and join in the fun.
This is also one reason why you are more likely to laugh when you are around other people than when you are alone. Besides the obvious fact that they might be doing or saying something you consider funny of course.
Sharing humor is half the fun. Seeing someone else laugh especially when knowing you were the one who was able to make them laugh will make you feel amazing, even better than you laughing already made you feel. Always remember, the more laughter you bring into your own life, the happier you and those around you will feel. The more in love with life you and those around you will be.
How can you share more laughter?
When you walk on the street smile at people passing you, put away your phone and look at the people around you. Smile at them. Smiling is the beginning of laughter, and like laughter, it is contagious.
Since a smile is the beginning of laughter look for things that make you smile more often.
You want to start your day with a smile or a laugh?
Why not start your day with making a habit out of thinking about at least three things you are grateful for?
When you hear laughter, move toward it.
Go and look what others are laughing about. Maybe it is a street artist. Maybe it is something they are watching on TV. Go and check it out as well! Do not be shy to ask them if you are not sure what it is they are laughing about. After reading about all those amazing benefits laughter can have, you surely do not want to miss out on a good laugh, do you!?
What if you do not seem to have the same sense of humor as them and actually don’t seem to think what they are laughing at is funny?
Go ahead and still laugh (if they are not laughing about someone else in a rude way or anything like that). Believe it or not, it’s possible to laugh without experiencing a funny event—and simulated laughter can be just as beneficial as the real thing. Both you and the other person will feel good, it will draw you closer together, and who knows, it may even lead to some real spontaneous laughter. Besides, while our mind knows the difference between genuine laughter and a fake laugh our body is not able to tell the difference, so in any case, you are still getting your mini workout and those endorphins, dopamine, serotonin, catecholamine, and decrease in cortisol.
Do you want to laugh more easily?
Visualize yourself laughing. Visualize, imagine a past event where you were laughing, or picture a future moment where you are getting a good healthy laugh. If you are not familiar with visualization yet, have a read through this article "The power of visualization and how to get started today" it contains some great advice.
One final advice:
Don’t go a day without laughing. Allow yourself to be childish every now and then. Start dancing in the street for now reason. Singing that song out loud even if you are not the most blessed singer. Read aloud to your partner trying on different foreign accents. Chase your husband to the front door. Have a theme day, and dress and behave accordingly. Wear two different colored socks. Start doing jumping jacks for no apparent reason. There are tons of fun things you could do! See what you can come up with and get started straight away! It will make you smile more, it will make you laugh more, it will make those around you smile and laugh more and latest after enjoying this read, you and me, we both know smiling and laughing more often is extremely good for everyone!
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