An old Yiddish proverb says, “What soap is to the body, laughter is to the soul.” Everyone knows that laughter makes you feel good and brings you in a good mood, but did you also knew that laughter causes physiological responses that protect the body from diseases and help to repair its vital organs? A good laugh can be compared to a mild workout as it exercises muscles, gets blood flow, reduces blood pressure and stress hormones, improves sleep habits and increases the immune system. In addition, a study has shown that humor and laughter can also enhance memory and mental performance. However, despite the fact that laughter has so many benefits, many of us forget to crack a smile from time to time, much less laughing. Laughter is good for your health and here are some ways to incorporate more laughter and joy into your life:
• Avoid taking life too seriously. We all have barriers in life and we all make mistakes. There is no reason to feel down because of this. In fact, if you can laugh a little at your own weaknesses, you will find that you are giving yourself extra happiness and a boost that will allow you to cope with any obstacle. It also extends to other people. Try not to be too hard on other people – a smile and laughter goes way beyond criticism.
• Finding humor in a bad situation. Of course, some situations are really sad and certainly not laughing matters. However, most situations in life have an ironic or ridiculous side to them. The next time you feel the level of stress increasing, take a minute to think about the irony of the situation and let yourself laugh at what you can not control. This will lessen the amount of cortisol your body produces due to stress, lowering of blood pressure, blood sugar levels and heart rate.
• Surround yourself with people who like to laugh a lot. As the saying goes, mirthful laughter is contagious, so make it a point to look for positive people who are not afraid to laugh at themselves and have the talent to find humor in situations of life. Young children are especially skilled at finding laughter and joys in everyday moments.
• Remember fun times in the past. Maybe a friend told you a joke the other day, your kids or your pets did something fun, or maybe you’ve recently seen a funny movie that you’ve had in stitches. Call on these memories often, especially when you feel sad, angry or stressed. Sometimes, the reactivation of a funny moment can cause the appearance of endorphins, which act as painkillers and mood enhancers.
• Get a pet. Animals are excellent for stimulating happiness and encouraging laughter because they like to play and have fun, and they often do fun things without even realizing it. Furthermore, studies revealed that people with pets have lower levels of stress and depression and are less likely to suffer from heart disease.
If you can find a way to laugh every day, you will find that your mood will improve, that your relationships with others will be more meaningful and effortless, and the obstacles of life will not seem so discouraging. On the other hand, your body, mind and soul will receive the health benefits of these natural and free medicines.