Laughing is good for your physical and mental health. When you laugh, it tells your body you are happy and your nervous system smiles in cooperation.
Even if something isn't really funny, laughing is beneficial. It's good exercise. It's like jogging on the inside.
Try an experiment for the next week: smile and laugh a lot every day. You don't need a reason to laugh, just do it. You will probably feel lighter and more joyful. There is an added benefit when you wear a smile, you will look more attractive and people will be drawn to you. It's free and there are no side effects!
What the Mayo Clinic Says about Laughing
Stress relief from laughter? It's no joke! When it comes to relieving stress, more giggles and guffaws are just what the doctor ordered. Here's why. Whether you're guffawing at a sitcom on TV or quietly giggling at a newspaper cartoon, laughing does you good. Laughter is a great form of stress relief, and that's no joke.
Stress Relief from Laughter
A good sense of humor can't cure all ailments, but data is mounting about the positive things laughter can do.
A good laugh has great short-term effects. When you start to laugh, it doesn't just lighten your load mentally, it actually induces physical changes in your body. Laughter can:
- Stimulate many organs. Laughter enhances your intake of oxygen-rich air, stimulates your heart, lungs and muscles, and increases the endorphins that are released by your brain.
- Activate and relieve your stress response. A rollicking laugh fires up and then cools down your stress response, and it can increase your heart rate and blood pressure. The result? A good, relaxed feeling.
- Soothe tension. Laughter can also stimulate circulation and aid muscle relaxation, both of which can help reduce some of the physical symptoms of stress.
Laughter isn't just a quick pick-me-up, though. It's also good for you over the long term. Laughter may:
- Improve your immune system. Negative thoughts manifest into chemical reactions that can affect your body by bringing more stress into your system and decreasing your immunity. In contrast, positive thoughts can actually release neuropeptides that help fight stress and potentially more-serious illnesses.
- Relieve pain. Laughter may ease pain by causing the body to produce its own natural painkillers.
- Increase personal satisfaction. Laughter can also make it easier to cope with difficult situations. It also helps you connect with other people.
- Improve your mood. Many people experience depression, sometimes due to chronic illnesses. Laughter can help lessen your depression and anxiety and may make you feel happier.
Tips and Tools
Do you think you have a sense of humor that is underdeveloped or even nonexistent? No problem. Humor can be learned. In fact, developing or refining your sense of humor may be easier than you think.
- Put humor on your horizon. Find a few simple items, such as photos, greeting cards or comic strips, that make you chuckle. Then hang them up at home or in your office. Keep funny movies, books or comedy albums on hand for when you need an added humor boost. Look online at joke websites. Go to a comedy club.
Laugh and the world laughs with you. Find a way to laugh about your own situations and watch your stress begin to fade away. Even if it feels forced at first, practice laughing. It does your body good.
Consider trying laughter yoga. In laughter yoga, people practice laughter as a group. Laughter is forced at first, but it can soon turn into spontaneous laughter.
Share a laugh. Make it a habit to spend time with friends who make you laugh. And then return the favor by sharing funny stories or jokes with those around you.
Knock, knock. Browse through your local bookstore or library's selection of joke books and get a few rib ticklers in your repertoire that you can share with friends.
Know what isn't funny. Don't laugh at the expense of others. Some forms of humor aren't appropriate. Use your best judgment to discern a good joke from a bad, or hurtful one.
Laughter Is the Best Medicine
Go ahead and give it a try. Turn the corners of your mouth up into a smile and then give a laugh, even if it feels a little forced. Once you've had your chuckle, take stock of how you're feeling. Are your muscles a little less tense? Do you feel more relaxed or buoyant? That's the natural wonder of laughing at work.
Enjoy some of the funny jokes people have submitted below. Feel free to share jokes in the "Leave a comment" section near the bottom of this page. Please do not submit anything that is offensive, profane or hurtful.
"Thank you for the Recurring Distance Healings. I feel that I am back on track again. I am doing a better job of accepting people as they are and being compassionate rather than getting upset at them. I also feel like I am more aware of habits that are not serving me and am letting them go for other more balanced healthy ways of being."
"It was so good! Thanks for taking care of us and so delicately."
"Thanks. It was a great Distance Healing. I was blown away by the energy. Wow!"
"Increased clarity helped me to identify and correct the physical basis of a longstanding sleep problem. I have been waking up early feeling properly rested after years of needing to sleep really late and not being able to do anything to change it. Clear insights led me to make another major change with far-reaching beneficial repercussions."
More inspiring stories
Whenever you have the chance, laugh as much as you can.
By this all the rigid knots in your body will be loosened. But to laugh superficially is not enough: your whole being must be united in laughter, both inwardly and outwardly. Do you know how this is expressed?
You literally shake with merriment from head to foot, so that it is impossible to tell which part of your body is most affected.
What you usually do is laugh with your mouth, while your emotions are held in check. But I want you to laugh with your whole countenance, with your whole heart and with all the breath of your life.
— Anandamayi Ma
A man is driving along a highway and sees a rabbit jump out across the middle of the road. He swerves to avoid hitting it, but unfortunately the rabbit jumps right in front of the car.
The driver, a sensitive man as well as an animal lover, pulls over and gets out to see what has become of the rabbit. Much to his dismay, the rabbit is dead. The driver feels so awful that he begins to cry.
A beautiful blonde woman driving down the highway sees the man crying on the side of the road and pulls over. She steps out of her car and asks the man what’s wrong.
“I feel terrible,” he explains,“I accidentally hit this rabbit and killed it.”
The blonde says, “Don’t worry.”
She runs to her car and pulls out a spray can. She walks over to the limp, dead rabbit, bends down, and sprays the contents onto the rabbit. The rabbit jumps up, waves its paw at the two of them and hops off down the road.
Ten feet away the rabbit stops, turns around and waves again, he hops down the road another 10 feet, turns and waves, hops another ten feet, turns and waves, and repeats this again and again and again, until he hops out of sight.
The man is astonished. He runs over to the woman and demands, “What is in that can? What did you spray on that rabbit!?”
The woman turns the can around so that the man can read the label. It says…
Hair Spray — Restores life to dead hair, and adds permanent wave.
Dear Swami, is it possible to be reincarnated in a lower form like a pigeon for instance?
I´ve got some bad news and some good news. The bad news is yes, based on the laws of karma you can come back as a pigeon. The good news is, you´ll finally be able to make a deposit on the BMW.
A little girl asked her mother, “How did the human race appear?” The mother answered, “God made Adam and Eve and they had children and so was all mankind made.” Two days later the girl asked her father the same question. The father answered, “Many years ago there were monkeys from which the human race evolved.” The confused girl returned to her mother and said, “Mom, how is it possible that you told me the human race was created by God, and Dad said they developed from monkeys?” The mother answered, “Well, dear, it is very simple: I told you about my side of the family and your father told you about his.”
My Ukrainian father brought this old story from his village:
In the summer, out in the Ukrainian countryside, the wild, sprawling bramble bushes would be full of delicious ripe berries. It was a tradition for village women to go out together to pick them, laughing and joking. But some had a secret, favorite spot to pick berries and would slip off on their own.
One hot summer day, a woman arrived at her secret berry patch, which grew taller than she and even wider than her garden back in the village, an immense bramble with luscious red berries hanging from every branch. She began to fill her basket, eating as she picked.
But she hadn’t been picking very long when she heard someone around the other side of the patch. Picking roughly, tearing at the branches of her bushes. Eating her sweet berries!
She stormed around to the other side to drive that woman from her berry patch, red faced with rage, spluttering curses, and looked up into the eyes of – a big black bear!
And she ran one way.
And the bear
ran the other.