Did you know that laughing has actual health benefits? Medical and mental health professionals agree that there are short-term and long-term benefits to laughter. Here are a few of my favorite reasons why we should all try to add more humor to our lives.
It reduces physical symptoms of stress. When we laugh, we bring in more oxygen, which then stimulates our organs and helps with muscle relaxation. The Mayo Clinic states that laughter also gives us long-term health benefits such as improving our immune system and acting as a natural pain reliever. I want you to first think about something that is stressful. You may notice muscle tension in your shoulders or a tightness in your chest. Now, picture the last time you had a good belly laugh. Just thinking about that probably reduced some of that tension in your shoulders and jaw. You may have even been able to breathe easier.
It improves your mood. When we laugh, we release endorphins which then relieve our stress and enhance our sense of well-being. Laughter also decreases cortisol levels in our body which is known to be the stress hormone.
It improves your marriage. Humor can help to diffuse a disagreement or lower tension in a stressful conversation. The Gottman Institute teaches us that humor is a secret weapon for couples because it is based upon fond memories and inside jokes. It is a way to remain “us” in the midst of any troubles. This type of humor needs to be balanced with sincerity so that your partner feels safe and included.