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Surprising Benefits of Laughter for Mental Health

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Surprising Benefits of Laughter for Mental Health

Do you remember the last time you laughed until your stomach hurt or you had tears in your eyes? From stand up comedies, funny online videos, memes, movies, etc. etc. we all are surrounded by people trying to make us laugh. And let’s be honest, whatever the origin might be, laughing brings so much joy to us, helps us relax and it definitely boosts our mood. Surprisingly, that is not just a feeling, but a proven science– laughter is a genuine medicine.

We have grown up hearing sayings like “laughter is the best medicine.” is it just some old wisdom, or does it actually have some real visible benefits? Interestingly enough, modern science has researched a lot into this topic and has found some amaIng results. According to research, laughter does not just make us feel healthy and happy; it actually can have a positive effect on our physical, mental and emotional health. Be it strengthening our immune system, relieving stress or just helping us deal with bad emotional moments, laughing is one of the natural methods to help with a number of health issues.

In this blog, we will explore how laughter can have a lot of health benefits for us and how it strengthens our body and mind. Not only this, we will also discuss how laughter can uplift our spirits and help us get through life with a positive attitude. Thus, be ready to LOL! (Learn Out Loud! Very bad, we’re sorry)

The Science of Laughter  

Laughter is a complex physiological reaction that has amazing benefits for our health. As we laugh, our bodies go through some important physical changes. A hearty laugh begins at the diaphragm, a dome shaped muscle located below our lung. While laughing, our diaphragm tightens and relaxes, expelling air in small bursts. With a rapid ejection of air it forms the specific noise of laughter.

Aside from the diaphragm, when we laugh or smile, the muscles around our lips become tense. Likewise, other muscle groups, like in the abdomen as well as in the shoulder, are also involved while laughing. This whole-body workout offers numerous health-related benefits.

Endorphins, the body’s natural painkillers are also released in the body with the act of laughing. Endorphins mimic opioid drugs as they both bind to the same receptor species in the brain without causing addictive properties. The release of endorphins can raise your mood, lower your pain, and cause a healthy self-perception.

Laughter also affects our stress hormones. According to research, cortisol levels, which is our main stress hormone, can be lowered by laughter. It is widely known that cortisol has a lot of side effects like high blood pressure, decreased immunity and weight gain. It has been found that laughter can decrease cortisol levels, which in turn helps us in dealing with stress, and in keeping us healthy on the whole.

Laughter also contributes to a better immune system. Some studies claim that the body's production of antibodies may be stimulated by the act of laughing; these are proteins that help to fight infection. Laughter might be able to enhance the activity of natural killer cells whose job is to strike abnormal cells such as cancer cells.

Scientific research has also revealed that laughter can be beneficial for cardiovascular system by increasing blood circulation and decreasing blood pressure. Laughter therapy is also useful in many pain management conditions like chronic pain and arthritis. It even helps you sleep, as studies suggest that laughter can help you relax better and go into a deeper slumber.

So far, we’ve learned that the class clown might also have the healthiest body. Who knew, right?

Laughter's Impact on Mental and Emotional Health  

This is kind of obvious, but yes, laughter has a huge impact on our mental and emotional well-being, which also helps us fight stress, negativity, and social isolation.

Stress Relief Through Laughter: 

This is an integral part of pop culture these days. If you pay close attention, a lot of memes are actually based on stressful situations. Be it exams, mid-life crises or even everyday situations, there are memes on everything. And the best part is that making jokes about these situations and laughing helps so many people relieve stress. As we discussed earlier, laughter acts as a stress reliever by triggering the release of endorphins, the body's natural feel-good chemicals. These endorphins act as a natural calming agent, which also reduces the stress hormone levels in the body, cortisol. This relaxes our state of mind, and we are able to deal with stress and negative emotions much better.

Boosting Mood and Combating Depression:

A good laugh can completely turn a bad day around. Laughter helps us get a better mood not just by the increase in endorphins but it also activates our brain’s reward system. Laughter helps to gain a better mood by not only increasing endorphins but also stimulating the brain's reward mechanism. The release of these chemicals lead to a sense of pleasure and happiness. This is especially helpful for those fighting depression. Research has shown that laughter therapy can even contribute to reducing symptoms of depression and anxiety.

Laughter as a Social Bond: 

Humans are social beings by nature, and sharing laughter is a superb instrument for bonding with other people. Laughter makes us feel like we are part of a team. Laughing is a great way of tearing walls down and creating rapport. If you reflect on the times you had a good laugh with your friends, it is highly likely that your friendship became stronger with them and you got developed a closer bond with them. Laughing can also help in easing social anxiety, which makes it easier to make new friends and bonds. It’s really a win-win situation.

Resilience Through Humor: 

Life is made up of challenges, and hard times will inevitably come. This is the human lot. On the contrary, laughter can be a great element in the process of getting along the challenges. Finding humor in difficult situations gives us a way to view the world in a more pleasant way and helps us build resilience. It’s not about avoiding problems but about processing them with a touch of humor, which helps to keep the mind in perspective and to bounce back faster. Having a hearty laugh really takes off the steam and helps you get over the negative feelings you might be experiencing at the time and see the brighter side of life.

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Some Important Tips To Start With  

It can be hard for some people to get started with incorporating laughter into their lives. This is especially true when they are going through tough times, and during these moments, laughing can be the last thing you might want to think about. However, even starting small can have immense positive effects. Here are some tips:

Start small: First and foremost, don’t pressure yourself. Start on your own terms and slowly. You can try out watching funny videos, comics, or stand-up shows. Even a smile can trigger the release of endorphins.

Focus on the positive: Positive and motivational content is all the rage these days. And it really works well! Engaging with uplifting content, such as positive quotes or looking back on old pictures, can also make you feel joyful. You can also do gratitude journaling by making a list of things you are grateful for to help you have a positive shift.

Seek support: Don’t put the onus all on yourself. If you find it difficult to find joy and your mood is constantly low, don’t be afraid to seek help. Talk to a friend, family member or visit a therapist. Talking about your problems is a great way to elevate your mood.

Be mindful of your audience: Humor is subjective, and what makes one person laugh, another might find offensive. Hence, it is important to be mindful of the audience. Think about who you’re with and what taboo topics may be discussed. What is acceptable with close friends might not be appropriate in a professional environment.

Avoid humor that punches down: There is never a justification for making fun of people who have been oppressed or face difficulties. The purpose of humor should be to uplift and unify the audience, not to debase or segregate it.

Conclusion  

Life can get pretty heavy, and sometimes laughter appears as a choice we neglect. However, do not miss the mark; laughter is serious business, and it's one that is accessible to all. Anytime you're having a rough day, you have the opportunity to find the bright side of it, an amusing picture, or a memory that can make you laugh.

Accept laughter as your everyday companion. Do not hesitate to laugh at yourself, at your misfortune, absurdity of everyday life. Keep in mind that a touch of humor can go a long way.

At Solh, we deeply value mental health and understand the pivotal role of compassion in the overall well-being. That's why we've carefully assembled a suite of empowering Self-help tools and Community Support tailored to nurture your mental health. Our curated offerings encompass a diverse array of resources, from journaling, support groups to Solh Buddy, allowing you to share your experiences,seek support, offer guidance and connect with others - anonymously or as yourselves. Take control of your path towards enhanced mental well-being by exploring and utilizing our comprehensive resources at Solh!