Laughter can change your mood and reduce stress levels in an instant. When you are feeling flat, watching your favourite funny cat video can lift your spirits and break the cycle of negativity in that moment. This sets in motion various mental and physical health benefits for both your mind and body.
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It makes sense then if we surround ourselves with positive people and experiences, we will remain happy, however it may not be feasible to stay happy all the time. Having a good balance of emotions is what we should strive for in our daily life.
Research shows the health benefits of laughter are far-reaching, including pain relief, improved wellbeing, and increased immunity. The feel-good hormones laughing releases also reduce emotional and physical stress. The cognitive shift we feel when we find something humorous helps us to relax. Humour and laughter reduce stress hormones like cortisol, adrenaline, and dopamine, while increasing health-enhancing hormones, like endorphins and oxytocin.
Mental health improves when we laugh because:
It is a good way to let go of suppressed emotions
It is hard to feel negative emotions when laughing
Stress is reduced and energy increases while laughing
It helps engage others socially and eases anxiety
It has a contagious quality that encourages others to smile
Even fake smiling or laughing can release endorphins
It expands the lungs allowing more oxygen into our body
How to find laughter in your life:
Watch your favourite comedian or seek out new comedies that you find truly hilarious
Try laughing at life’s frustrations and find funny ways to retell your tales of annoyance
Make time to join your friends for a laugh at a comedy or trivia game night
Surround yourself with humorous momentous, photos, postcards, or comic strips that make you laugh
Keep a selection of joke books handy to skim through when you are looking for a pick me up giggle
While having a good belly laugh is beneficial to those in on the joke avoid laughing at the expense of others as some forms of humour are inappropriate and hurtful. Use your best judgement to assess what is funny and what is not and be inclusive. So then everyone can benefit from the wonderful effects of laughter.
On a lighter note! The next time you are feeling down or stressed, try laughing to improve your mental health. And, if anyone else needs a bit of cheering up try and make them laugh too.