You’ve heard it before: Laughter is the best medicine. There’s nothing quite like sharing a belly laugh with friends. Laughter can strengthen your connections with others, brighten up a dreary day, and contribute to some of your favorite memories. But did you know that laughter also comes with a variety of proven health benefits? Scroll down to learn why laughing is good for your health.
Why Laughing Is Good for Your Health
Laughter and Your Body
Studies have shown that laughter has the power to change us on a physiological basis. This makes sense when you consider that laughter is a physical act. When we laugh, we use muscles throughout our face and body – especially during a particularly gut-busting guffaw session. Our pulse and blood pressure both go up, and we tend to breathe faster. If these physical phenomena sound familiar, it’s because we exhibit a lot of the same behaviors during exercise. In fact, one researcher from Vanderbilt University found that between 10 and 15 minutes of laughter can burn up to 50 calories.
Laughter and Stress
A rollicking laugh fires up and then cools down your stress response. When that happens, your heart rate and blood pressure increase – and then rapidly decrease, increasing feelings of relaxation and well-being. Laughter can also stimulate circulation and aid muscle relaxation, reducing some of the physical symptoms of stress, like jaw or shoulder clenching.
Laughter and Your Immune Response
Numerous studies have identified the link between stress-induced chemical reactions and your immune system. Mayo Clinic researchers found that, while negative thoughts can have a detrimental effect on your immune system, positive thoughts can release stress-fighting compounds that fight off serious illness. Those compounds include T-cells, which are specialized immune system cells that help you fight off sickness. Want to experience the effects for yourself? Next time you’re feeling under the weather, try to make time for a good laugh.
Get More Laughter into Your Days
Want to see for yourself why laughing is good for your health? Implement a few strategies to get more laughter into every day:
- Reflect on fond memories: Find a few small items like photos or comic strips that bring a smile to your face. Hang them up around your home or office to surround yourself with chuckle-inducing images.
- Consume more comedy: Keep funny movies, books, magazines or comedy videos on hand. Not sure where to start? Look online at joke websites, or look up comedy specials on streaming services like YouTube and Netflix.
- Share a laugh: Make it a habit to spend time connecting with friends who make you laugh. Schedule an in-person get-together or chat on the phone. Then, return the favor by sharing funny stories or jokes with your loved ones.
We could all use more laughter in our lives, and there are a wide variety of reasons why laughter is good for your health. If you’re intrigued, go ahead and give it a try. Smile and let out a laugh – even if it feels a little forced at first. Then, see how you feel. Do you feel a little more relaxed? Has your jaw unclenched? It might seem strange, but prioritizing laughter in your life is a great way to stay healthy and happy in your golden years.
At Springhouse Village, we know how important it is to enjoy your retirement in a lively and welcoming environment. We make it easy for our residents to be active participants in our community. Whether that means encouraging residents to shop at local farmers markets or assisting them in starting a garden club, we strive to help our residents thrive. To learn more about the amenities and services we offer, contact Springhouse Village today.