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Are you in need of a good laugh? Few things are more beneficial to a person’s overall well-being than laughter. In fact, the benefits of laughter extend to better mental health and is an indicator of better physical health as well.
If you need any more reason other than enjoyment to invite a few friends over and spend the afternoon telling jokes, watching funny YouTube videos, and swapping hilarious stories, consider these benefits of laughter.
First, laughter boosts your immune system. Negative stress can cause your body to release chemicals that weaken your immune system, making you more likely to contract a disease.
Laughter, though, reduces negative stress and, in turn, prevents those chemicals from being released.
Laughter also promotes the release of T-cells, which are specialized immune system cells that fight off sickness. Next flu season, you may want to consider laughing as much as you can!
Laughter has been shown to both lower blood pressure and improves blood flow, both of which lead to better cardiovascular health and reduce your chances of suffering a heart attack or stroke.
If two people are laughing together, they will feel more emotionally connected.
This makes laughter a great tool if you are going on a date or trying to make friends with a coworker.
If you can get them laughing and laugh yourself as well, the two of you will both feel more connected to one another, and you will both leave the experience feeling more positive about the other person.
While you may not want to skip your workout routine in favor of watching stand up comedy, it’s still true that laughter does burn calories and can promote weight loss.
According to a study by the International Journal of Obesity, laughing for 15 minutes can burn 10-40 calories by raising your heart rate.
When you laugh, your body increases its oxygen intake and releases endorphins.
Among many other positive effects, these two things can provide you with a quick, refreshing boost of energy.
The endorphins that laughter releases not only provide you with an energy boost, they also are a powerful way to reduce stress.
Endorphins work to reduce stress by counteracting the output of the stress-causing hormone cortisol and providing you with a sense of euphoria.
In fact, the effects of endorphins in the body have been compared to the effects of drugs such as morphine and codeine, except without any danger of addiction or dependence.
The ability to laugh at yourself when you make a mistake is a truly valuable trait.
Laughing at yourself allows you to build confidence and keeps minor setbacks from dragging you down.
If you can laugh something off rather than letting it fester in your mind, you can move on much quicker and avoid letting a small problem become a major one.
People tend to remember funny things more than anything else. If you develop the ability to find humor in the things you read and hear, you’ll be much more likely to retain the information you receive.
Likewise, if you want to get a point across to someone else in a way that they will be more likely to remember, make it funny.
This is one major reason that educators, writers, and speakers often do their best to instill humor into their material.
If you’ve ever taken a live seminar with me, you know that I start every session with as many as 15 to 18 cartoons.
The laughter that ensues accomplishes three important things: it lets people know that we are going to have fun.
It makes people feel more favorably bonded and connected to me. But most importantly, it helps people remember what I am teaching them.
Want to get six-pack abs? Laugh more often.
Laughter causes the muscles in your stomach to contract in a similar way to doing crunches or situps.
This is why you may feel your stomach hurting after a long period of heavy laughter.
Laughter has been shown to increase the levels of Interferon-Gamma in the body, which in turn promotes the release of B-cells, T-cells, NK cells, and immunoglobulin, and it also helps regulate cell growth.
Not only can all of these things help boost your immune system, they may also help prevent the growth of cancerous cells.
So with the intention of having you laugh right now, let me share a recent joke I heard with you.
The famous Indian leader Mahatma Gandhi often walked barefoot which produced an impressive set of calluses on his feet. He also ate very little, making him rather frail, and with his odd diet he often suffered from bad breath. This made him a super calloused fragile mystic hexed with halitosis.