It’s no joke…laughter is good for you!

I love it when my husband and I get to laughing about something. It just feels so good!

Laughter has many incredible benefits beyond the temporary feeling of elation that it provides. Check out these health benefits of laughter.

If you’ve laughed—really laughed—recently, then you know the positive, happy feeling I’m talking about.

It turns out that laughter has many incredible benefits beyond the temporary feeling of elation that it provides. Check out these benefits of laughter that have been identified by researchers.

Benefits of laughter

  • Stress reduction. Laughter can reduce levels of several stress hormones (cortisol, epinephrine, DOPAC, and growth hormone). Moreover, it stimulates circulation and aids in muscle relaxation, both of which help reduce some of the physical symptoms of stress.
  • Improved immune function. Positive thoughts spurred by laughter can trigger chemical reactions that boost the immune system. Specifically, researchers have found increases in the following immune system components: natural killer cells, IgA, IgG, IgM, Complement 3, activated T cells, B cells, and gamma interferon. These components serve many functions including the early recognition/removal of virus and tumor cells.
  • Pain relief. Researchers aren’t entirely sure why laughter helps relieve pain, but they have a few ideas. It is possible that laughter causes the release of endorphins, which are the body’s natural painkillers. It’s also possible that the act of laughing breaks the pain-spasm cycle that is common in some muscle disorders. If nothing else, laughter provides a pleasant distraction, drawing attention away from discomfort.
  • Memory improvement and increased creativity. Humor or “getting a joke” uses several parts of the brain (e.g., language center of the left side of the brain, right frontal cortex where emotions and social memories are stored). There is increased blood flow to these brain regions when a person laughs. This stimulation may actually increase memory, learning ability, and creativity skills.
  • Improved mood. Laughter provides a quick pick-me-up, which helps people cope with the challenges of life. It can lessen symptoms of depression and anxiety.
  • Increased aerobic exercise endurance. Laughter provides a mini-workout for the body. A person’s blood pressure and pulse will temporarily increase as the muscles of his or her diaphragm, abdomen, face, shoulders, back, and ribs contract. After laughter, the blood pressure and pulse drop below their baseline values and the muscles experience increased relaxation.
  • Improved social bonding. Smiles and laughter tend to be contagious, connecting us to the people around us and helping us feel positively about them.

Given all of this, it’s no wonder that the Bible lauds a cheerful heart as medicine (Proverbs 17:22)!

Amidst the chaos and struggles of life, sometimes we have to be intentional about experiencing humor. Watch a comedy, play games with your family, read a comic strip, tell a joke, or do whatever it is that causes you to laugh! Check out my sources (here and here) for more information about the health benefits of laughter.

What has caused you to laugh recently?

Shared on the following link-ups:

Coffee and Conversation, WholeHearted Wednesday, Titus 2sday, Titus 2 Tuesday, Living Proverbs 31, Making Your Home Sing, Saturday Soiree, Weekend No Rules Blog Hop & From House to Home.

Comments

  1. You are so right… laughter is good for us. I have tried off and on, to remember something interesting or funny to share at the supper meal when we are together… it is fun to share such laughter. I need to do it more regularly for the family. 🙂

  2. My youngest son always makes me laugh! Sometimes, I look at him and wonder if this is how Jim Carrey’s mother felt when he was little. One thing is for certain, he always brightens my day!

  3. Wow, I had heard of some of these but definitely didn’t know about the improved immune function and memory improvement. I guess I need to laugh at myself more when I walk into a room and can’t remember what I went in there for! Found you over at Titus 2 Tuesday link up. Thanks for sharing!

  4. This is so true. So many times laughing at/with my children has made a difficult day much easier.

  5. I love to laugh. My girls make me laugh all the time. I love their silly antics 🙂

    Colletta

    • My daughter is the source of much of my laughter! That’s one of the many wonderful benefits of children.

  6. Between my kids and husband, I’m laughing on a regular basis. Even in those really crazy, don’t know what to do moments, I find myself chuckling. It’s either laugh or cry. Laughing is easier!

    I found your post at Coffee and Conversation linkup at Mom’s Morning Coffee.

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