The top 5 Benefits of Having a Good Laugh
It’s well documented that having a good laugh with your friends and family is good for your soul and that makes perfect sense. When you think back to times when you’ve been almost in pain because you’ve laughed so hard, I’m certain you can remember them instantly.
When we’re raising a family, we often forget to do things for our own wellbeing. It’s easy to put everything “You” on hold in favour of your kids and that’s been the same for most parents since the very first. Add financial or work pressures into the mix and you can quickly forget what it’s like to have a good laugh!
More than ever, as we face an uncertain future and with so many people suffering from high levels of stress caused by the international Covid-19 epidemic, we need to ensure we can banish the blues by having a really good laugh!
One way to bring the laughter back into a household is to involve the kids. There are many ways to get the kids howling with laughter and because laughter is so infectious, you won’t be able to resist getting caught up in the silliness. It’s a real win/win, because parents and kids get the benefits. But what exactly are the benefits of having a good laugh?
1. Laughter almost instantly reduces anxiety
You must have noticed at some point, or at least can imagine, that it’s impossible to be stressed when you’re laughing. It’s certainly not always possible to laugh when you’re feeling anxious, but it’s highly likely that the stress will quickly begin to melt away once the laughter is flowing.
If you do find yourself feeling anxious or stressed, watching comedy can bring huge benefits. There are many places to find comedy quickly these days, but YouTube is a great resource to find clips of your favourite shows or comedians.
2. It’s almost an exercise!
According to studies, laughter has the effect of increasing our respiratory rate and increasing the flow of oxygen into the system. Whilst it’s possible that these positive effects only last as long as the laughter itself, that’s exactly the same as with exercise.
As with exercise, however, the long-term benefits of having more oxygen in your system are well known. It reduces stress, improves your body’s immune system and helps to fight disease. More oxygen in your bloodstream can also improve sleep and reduce the number of days your body takes to heal from things like illness or surgery.
3. Laughter is a pain reliever
Research carried out by the Royal Society found that social laughter (laughter in a group) raised the pain threshold of people that took part in a number of experiments to discover if there was a link between the two. This is thought to be because of the endorphins released during social laughter.
It’s said that laughter has been used for centuries as a way to distract patients from pain and aid in their general recovery. In fact, it’s quite common for the patients themselves to have an unnaturally good sense of humour when in trauma and this could be a simple defence strategy kicking in.
4. Laughter burns calories!
The thought that you can laugh your way to weight loss may sound crazy or even junk science, but a 2005 study showed that 10-15 minutes of laughter, could result in a person burning up to 40 calories.
You can’t laugh away the excesses or those bad food choices purely with laughter though. The author of the study noted that “it would take an hour of chortles to burn one chocolate bar”!
5. Laughter can reduce your blood pressure
Researchers at Osaka University conducted a study using music and laughter on 79 people aged between 40 and 74 and measured their blood pressure throughout a series of experiments. The results were fascinating and although the researchers say their work was inconclusive, they still believe there’s a solid link.
The results after laughter sessions showed that blood pressure readings typically reduced by 7 mmHg immediately after laughter sessions. The results were slightly lower at 6 mmHg for sessions involving music.
These are 5 ways that science has tried to make a link between laughter and our health and from the studies mentioned, it would seem that laughter has an all-round positive effect on us.
It’s probably fair to say that we instinctively know that we feel better when we laugh, whether that’s on our own or with friends and family. In these stressful times, it’s probably a good idea to find ways to have a good laugh as often as possible. Our health may depend on it, but it’s just fun too!