Laughter. Whether it’s cramp-up, side-stitching funny or a silent giggle, laughter makes you feel good and lifts your mood. I’ve found that when I am having a rough and exhausting day, my mind always turns to humor for a quick outlet. But why? Why do we laugh and why is it so important? I don’t know about you, but being around people who find no humor in anything and don’t laugh leaves me feeling tired and pessimistic. On the other hand, I think about those friends that are always cracking jokes or doing something silly. I want to be around them! Their happiness is contagious, and they seem less stressed and more willing to face each obstacle with optimism. I don’t know about you, but that seems like a lifestyle worth having.
So, why do we laugh? Seriously. What causes our mouth to all of the sudden elicit unrecognizable sounds, our body to cramp up or shake, and for us to create ridiculous facial expressions? If someone had never seen laughter before, they would think we were having some sort of attack or seizure. But no, we are physically displaying our mental enjoyment of something. We can make ourselves laugh, but true laughter comes from deep down, and according to How it Works, it shows our social connection to others. Like I said, think about it. Have you ever been around people who don’t laugh? The situation gets really uncomfortable really fast which makes you want to crack a joke to lighten the mood, but of course it doesn’t work. Ah, a vicious cycle. Laughing together with others creates comfortable, social bonds and you become more willing to be vulnerable to those around you.
Laughter is contagious and fun to do. I love laughing! Growing up was probably the time when I laughed the most. Everything was funny. There were no cares in the world, so why not be silly and make jokes? Think about your present. Really think. When was the last time you had a good laugh? Last week? Last month? I get it, we’re adults. We have more important things to do like worry about work deadlines, not being silly. But what if I told you that laughter is healthy for your body? It’s true. According to multiple studies, such as a study done by Web MD, laughter can do four important things for your body. First, it can increase blood flow, especially to your brain, which you need for productive working anyways. Second, it can raise your disease-fighting antibodies and increase the amount of immune cells in your body. This is because with decreased stress, your body is able to more readily use its white blood cells. Now, you’ll have less sick days. Third, it can lower your blood sugar. Low blood sugar is important for avoiding health effects such as hypoglycemia, hyperglycemia, and diabetic ketoacidosis. In addition, it can help avoid damage to the heart, blood vessels, and nerves. Lastly, laughter can help you sleep and relax. It releases pent up tension and relaxes the muscles in your body allowing for a more deep sleep. And we all know sleeping is one of the most important parts of our day.
Let’s learn to laugh more and stress less. Research has shown it’s good for you, so why not do it? Laughter and happiness can be increased by surrounding yourself with optimistic people. Also, learn to laugh at yourself. I mean, if Jennifer Lawrence can laugh at herself for falling at the Oscars, I’m pretty sure we can let some embarrassing moments go too. Learn to find humor in everything and take time for fun. Lastly, exercise. Exercise makes you happy! And happiness lowers stress.
Laughter isn’t hard to do and happiness isn’t hard to find, you just need to look for opportunities and remember that laughter is medicine too.