Laughter is a great way to boost your mood and boost health. When is the last time that you laughed so hard that you cried? There’s a growing body of research showing both the physical and psychological benefits of laughter.
Studies show that laughing may lower our blood pressure, decrease pain, and strengthen our immune function. Another interesting health benefit of a laughter is through exercising the lungs. With laughter, we take deep breaths which can enhance our lung function. In addition to these physical benefits, laughing also has emotional benefits as well. Laughter can create a buffer and can lower stress, depression, fear and anxiety. In fact, laughter has been shown to lower our stress hormone, cortisol. In addition, laughing is a good way to ease tension. Laughter can also offer social support as it’s a shared experience that creates a community. With all of these benefits, it’s no surprise that clowns are an integral part of the care team in pediatric hospitals as they create laughter, play and comfort for children. Laughter is an important tool for not only children, but also for adults. We can think of laughter as a tool to cope with life challenges. In our everyday lives, we can create a pleasant distraction through laughing.
There are two forms of laughter. One type is spontaneous laughter which is triggered by humor like a joke or a funny story. This is a genuine laugh that is spontaneous. The other type of laughter is simulated laughter and it is not caused by humor. An example of this self-induced laughter is laughter yoga exercises. Both forms have been shown to improve wellbeing. In other words, humor is not necessary and laughing about nothing is also beneficial. Regardless of the type of laughter, it is a way to tap into joy and happiness. My “laughter prescription” for you is to laugh daily.