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The physical and mental health benefits of laughter are widely chronicled. It releases endorphins–which make us feel happy–in addition to other hormones linked with reducing stress, boosting reaction, and strengthening social relationships.
When it comes to our psychological state, the discharge of those happy hormones is a wonderful short-term relief. However, a heightened level of social bonding and shared laughter can cause longer-term feelings of inclusion as well as the creation of support networks.
Both of these are key elements within the fight against depression.
There’s even a collective of psychologists who dedicate their time to promoting the employment of humor within a psychiatric setting. The Association for Applied and Therapeutic Humor or AATH is a group of experts who actively promote the utilization of laughter within the psychological treatments.
Ways Laughter Can Improve Mental Health
Gelotology–or the study of laughter and its effects–has long sought scientific answers to the potential health benefits of laughing.
Surround Yourself With Happiness
Laughter is contagious! So surround yourself with things that make you happy! Clip cartoons, photos of your loved ones laughing, or funny jokes and put them on your wall. Replace the usual dinner-and-a-movie date-night combo with a stand-up comedy show.
Share A Smile
Sharing laughter and humor builds bonds and camaraderie. Relax with your carefree, light-hearted friends to make memories and create happiness.
Life is full of lemons, and it is no secret that things will fail. Zoom out of the large picture when the going gets tough. Try to find the pearls of humor in every situation. Healing and happiness begin with making lemonade out of the lemons you are dealt with.
This might sound silly, but laughter therapy is a great way to simulate genuine happiness! Fake laughter uses identical muscles as real laughter. Sometimes the results include a better mental state!
Read A Joke
Stop by the library or bookstore for a humorous read! Ask your librarian for authors who specialize in humor and reveal the extraordinarily hilarious side of life. Let your kids grab some books full of jokes and puns while you’re in there.
Playtime With Pets
Taking some time out to play with pets can increase the production of your feel-good hormones! Take some time to chill with your dogs and cats, watch animal videos online, and take some time out for your furry friends!
The science of laughter, though still preliminary, suggests that it is extremely beneficial for our health and psychological well-being.
Here are just five examples from this emerging research.
It can support your physical health
The research suggests that humor and laughter may boost our immune functions. Another study found that even anticipating a funny event decreases the potential detrimental stress-related hormones and the resulting physical effects. In another study, laughter was found to lower stress and inflammation and increase good cholesterol.
It is a stress reliever
Laughter is wonderful for stress relief. A review of research on laughter therapies suggests that they reduce anxiety, depression, and perceived stress. Laughter causes happiness and releases endorphins within the brain. This puts you in a much better mood! Even a brief period of laughter per day can reduce your stress-hormone (cortisol) levels.
It can improve your memory
When we are attempting to imbibe new information, we are usually pretty serious. However, research shows that a decent laugh while learning may facilitate engagement with the information. it may help you learn faster. Humor can facilitate better learning, even in online courses.
It can strengthen your relationships
Research shows that laughter causes you to be friendlier with new people and helps you build and strengthen relationships. A recent study confirms that humor and playfulness are highly valued traits in potential romantic partners.
As the saying goes, ‘couples who laugh together, stay together!’
It can make your community happier too
Research has shown that happiness is contagious. You being happier impacts your friends, family, and others close to you. Moreover, laughter helps heal rifts or disagreements between people. Specifically, laughing with a friend helps us take ourselves less seriously. As a result, we become less defensive and open to others’ points of view.
It is clear that laughter is great medicine for stress and depression. Moreover, it is free, has no side effects, and makes our lives more enjoyable!
Remember to practice gratitude. When you consciously reflect on what you’re thankful for, your state of mind improves. Therefore, keep a gratitude journal or make a list of things you’re grateful for. Visualize that thing or person in your mind.
Gratitude opens your mind and heart and brings you closer to laughter and joy.
Finally, for better mental health, make sure something tickles your funny bone today, tomorrow, and every day beyond!
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