Sherry A. Phillips

Suspense Author

Why Laughter Really Is the Best Medicine

The other night, the kids and I watched SyFy Channel’s “Sharknado.” I could not tell you the last time I laughed that loud. We were all laughing out loud to the extent some of them sounded like screams. I was a bit afraid the neighbors would come knocking on our door to ask if we were alright.

Laughter is a beautiful thing. And it’s contagious!

You know the feeling, you see someone laughing and you wonder, “What’s so funny?” You can’t help but smile yourself.

That is because humor is as contagious as a cold. When it is shared, laughter binds people together, increasing happiness and connecting two souls. While that is a terrific thing, laughter also accomplishes much more by triggering healthy physical changes in the body.

Humor and laughter can actually strengthen the immune system, give you more energy, relieve pain and protect you from stress.

And it’s free!

Some of the benefits of laughter include:

Physical Health Benefits:

1. Boosts immunity
2. Lowers stress hormones
3. Decreases pain
4. Relaxes your muscles
5. Prevents heart disease

Mental Health Benefits:

1. Adds joy and zest to life
2. Eases anxiety and fear
3. Relieves stress
4. Improves mood
5. Enhances resilience

Social Benefits:

1. Strengthens relationships
2. Attracts others to us
3. Enhances teamwork
4. Helps defuse conflict
5. Promotes group bonding

So how can you bring more laughter into your life? Helpguide.org has a few suggestions.

Smile

Smiling is the beginning of laughter. Like laughter, it’s contagious. Pioneers in “laugh therapy,” find it’s possible to laugh without even experiencing a funny event. The same holds for smiling. When you look at someone or see something even mildly pleasing, practice smiling.

Count your blessings

Literally make a list. The simple act of considering the good things in your life will distance you from negative thoughts that are a barrier to humor and laughter. When you’re in a state of sadness, you have further to travel to get to humor and laughter.

When you hear laughter, move toward it

Sometimes humor and laughter are private, a shared joke among a small group, but usually not. More often, people are very happy to share something funny because it gives them an opportunity to laugh again and feed off the humor you find in it. When you hear laughter, seek it out and ask, “What’s funny?”

Spend time with fun, playful people These are people who laugh easily–both at themselves and at life’s absurdities–and who routinely find the humor in everyday events. Their playful point of view and laughter are contagious.

Bring humor into conversations

Ask people, “What’s the funniest thing that happened to you today? This week? In your life?”

We should all practice looking at the lighter side of life and intentionally seek out our own sense of humor.

– Laugh at yourself.
– Laugh at situations instead of complaining about them.
– Surround yourself with reminders to lighten up.
– Keep things in perspective.
– Deal with your stress (running is one of favorite ways to de-stress).
– Pay attention to children and emulate them.

Life should be enjoyed, not endured. Look on the bright side and keep smiling. And if all else fails, watch “Sharknado!”

What makes you laugh?

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