Laughter transcends all the crap that we, human inhabitants of the earth, must endure by virtue of, well, being human. Indeed, a good, strong sense of humour can turn almost any situation around. A good chortle happens to be free of charge, and the glaring bonus is that it’s an in-built capacity, so no special equipment is required! Having a rough go of it this week/month/year? Chances are you need a hilarious change of perspective. The seriousness of life has its limits, after all.
So consider the following 6 benefits of laughter.
1. It stops stress and anxiety in its tracks.
In today’s nonstop modern world, stress hormones run amuck. Naturally, reducing your stress hormones sends anxiety and stress a running, lessening their impact on your body. So even though you had a fight with your significant other, stubbed your toe getting out of bed, and burned the bake sale cookies, your coworker’s sudden yet ultra on-point joke quickly altered your chemistry and made you feel better by sending you into an explosive giggle fit.
2. It’s part of your daily fitness plan.
This just in: laughter can help you tone your abs. When you laugh, the muscles in your stomach expand and contract, similar to what happens when you sweat through a set of crunches. Most would agree that laughing > ab exercises, but hey, they’re not mutually exclusive now are they? Laughing also raises your heart rate and you’ll burn anywhere from 10-40 calories over 15 minutes of laughter, according to the International Journal of Obesity.
3. It’s good for your heart.
Laughter is great cardio, particularly for people incapable of withstanding other physical activity due to injury or illness. When you get your heart pumping you burn a similar amount of calories per hour as walking at a slow or moderate pace. It also lowers your blood pressure and improves blood flow, reducing your odds of having a stroke or heart attack.
4. It’ll grant you immunity.
Feel like you’re coming down with something? It might be time to hit a comedy show. When you laugh, you activate T-cells in your body designed to help you ward off illness. While chronic stress and anxiety causes chemical reactions in your body that can send your immunity plummeting, a nice ol’ laugh supercharges you with disease-fighting prowess, helping you stay healthy and energized.
5. It’s a natural painkiller
Endorphins are your body’s natural painkiller hormones, and when we laugh, we release them, which can help ease chronic pain and/or make us feel all warm and fuzzy, increasing overall wellbeing. Doctors have found that people with a generally positive outlook tend to fight off diseases more effectively than people who dwell on the negative. So yuk it up — it may just extend your life! Not to mention, it’ll most definitely make said life more fun.
6. It facilitates bonding
Going on a hot first date? Or entering into a social situation with new people? Doing something that will elicit a laugh is an epic way to take the edge off, relieve your nerves, and increase your likelihood of bonding. Inspiring ideas include but are not limited to: funny movies, amusement parks, and good old-fashioned clowning around.
Bottom line: being able to laugh at ourselves in particular is nothing short of a superpower capable of overriding the sometimes terrible decisions we make or the less than glamorous moments of life. Why not keep stress and sickness at bay by choosing to get happy?