As the media churns out bad news like a factory of doom, you may literally feel your shoulders tensing, your stomach knotting and your brow furrowing. This kind of stress is no joke — it’s not healthy for you mentally or physically. The good news is there’s a happy antidote: laughter may just be the best medicine!
A little amusement therapy can go a long way to easing stress and improving both mental and physical health. Consider these eight stress-busting benefits of laughter.
- Laughter is known to reduce the levels of stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline, while the brain boosts production of happy hormones like endorphins. It also causes the body to produce natural painkillers. At the same time, laughter strengthens the immune system to better protect you from the health-ravaging effects of stress.
- Laughter helps you “let it all out.” Have you ever laughed so hard you cried? Afterward, you feel a relaxed sense of release. So tickle that funny bone whenever possible!
- Laughter also distracts you from feelings of anger, guilt and worry. Even if you have to fake smiles and laughter at first, it often leads to the real thing. Start with the corners of your mouth and work up from there.
- Laughter can change your perspective to help you better handle stress. Taking a lighter, more positive approach to problems through humor can help you see events more as a challenge rather than a stress-inducing threat. Finding the humor in your life can help you cope — and give you some hilarious stories to share if you work at it!
- Your laughter helps others around you, which in turn makes you feel even better. It’s a happy snowball effect because laughter truly is contagious! When you laugh you raise the mood bar in a social situation and connect more with others. And those connections of support and friendship are stress-reducers, too. Get chuckling and watch the place light up.
- Even just anticipating laughter reduces stress hormones, according to current research. So make plans to watch something funny and you’re already reaping the benefits of laughter. Then when you actually watch something funny and laugh along, your health benefits have doubled!
- Laughter is even good exercise. A hearty belly laugh exercises the diaphragm, abs and shoulders while it also gives your heart a workout. It also stimulates the lungs and circulation, which can relieve that knot in your stomach. And it gives your cheeks a healthy pink flush, too!
- Laughter is free! In these tough economic times, who doesn’t like that? Get together with friends more often and laughter is sure to follow. Get creative to work more fun (and funnies) into your life. Read a humor book. (Who can’t smile at Erma Bombeck’s wit — it’s still relevant today?) Giggle with the comedies on TV and ditch the dark and depressing shows. (And skip the news entirely.)
- To ride out these tough economic times and other hurdles in life, simply laugh in the face of stress. You may just start a laughter revolution!
Another way to stay healthy during stressful times is to make sure you’re putting the right nutrition into your body. Reliv nutritional products are carefully balanced and rich in stress-reducing ingredients for optimum nutrition.