The Healing Benefits of Laughter

Closeup of a man smiling in a park

Life often presents us with great adversity. Finding effective, healthy ways to cope with the difficulties in life can take time and discipline, but once you identify coping methods that work for you, overcoming obstacles and living more fully becomes easier. One of the most effective and efficient coping skills is humor. Laughing often, embracing little joys, and finding levity even in difficult circumstances can make challenges easier to handle, and there are numerous other benefits to a life filled with laughter, as well.

Benefiting from laughter as a coping mechanism and habit can take work. Three ways to reap the full benefits of laughter and humor include identifying ways to laugh more often, making others laugh, and finding humor in everyday life, especially the challenges you face. By practicing these methods of bringing more laughter into your life, you may find that you feel healthier and happier over time.

The Benefits of Laughter

Laughter is a joyous expression of humor and happiness, and laughing often can actually have numerous positive effects on your physical and mental health. One of the most prominent biological effects of laughter is the release of endorphins, which can boost mood, make you feel better physically, emotionally, and even relieve pain.

By laughing each day, you can help reduce the amount of stress and tension in your body, promoting relaxation and rest. The immune and cardiovascular systems also benefit from regular bouts of laughter. By decreasing stress hormones, increasing immune cell and antibody production, and promoting improved blood flow and blood vessel functionality, laughter can help you stay healthy.

Laughter can reduce feelings of anger or rage, and humor is a useful tool for diffusing difficult or tense situations. By laughing often, you can promote better overall wellness. The benefits of laughter are so profound that a form of therapy called laughter or humor therapy has risen in popularity with documented success in reducing negative emotions, coping with emotional stress, and treating physical discomfort.

While there may be moments when laughter is inappropriate, finding times to laugh and celebrate life’s natural comedy can help you improve your physical and mental health.

Finding Ways To Laugh

Incorporating more laughter into your life is actually simple, and by making a deliberate effort to laugh more, you can improve your quality of life without a substantial amount of effort. The most important part of this initiative is your attitude—embrace fun, joy, and humor as much as possible, and laughter will naturally follow.

Some easy ways to laugh more include:

  • Reading books, comics, or magazines with a comedic focus
  • Befriending funny people
  • Sharing jokes or stories you find entertaining
  • Attending a comedy show with friends
  • Hosting a game night
  • Giving “laughter yoga” a try
  • Spending time playing with the children in your life
  • Dedicating time to activities you enjoy
  • Playing with your pet(s)
  • Watching funny shows, movies, or viral videos

With the Internet at your fingertips, finding things to laugh about is a simple process. You can also welcome more laughter into your life by embracing gratitude and counting your blessings, smiling often, and gravitating toward others who are playful and laugh a lot. These practices can easily be incorporated into your daily life, and making such small changes can have an incredibly positive effect.

Whenever possible, try to share the things that make you laugh with others. Doing so will not only make you feel good, but it will also spread joy and even improve your relationships.

Bring Laughter To Others

Laughter is contagious, and as social creatures, sharing things that make us laugh is natural and beneficial. By telling jokes, sharing funny stories, or sending humorous videos to friends, you can boost your mood, make your peers feel appreciated, and encourage them to laugh more, as well.

Humor is an effective tool for building and strengthening relationships, as shared laughter facilitates an emotional connection, positive feelings, and lasting bonds. Making others laugh and laughing with others can help you be more open with your feelings, disregard the potential for judgment or criticism, and embrace spontaneity.

If you want to improve your life, become more resilient, and boost your mood, sharing laughter is a great way to do so. One of the greatest gifts you can give is laughter, and sharing joy with others can strengthen your relationships and have a domino effect that translates to widespread happiness.

Find Humor in Life’s Challenges

When we struggle, finding humor may not be the first objective in our minds, but being able to laugh about failures and mishaps makes these hardships more bearable. Plenty of patients with painful or terminal diagnoses have reported that humor made coping with their symptoms and prognosis more manageable, and the integration of humor in hospital settings has increased when applicable to improve morale and keep patients and staff alike more engaged.

Having a developed sense of humor correlates to a strong sense of self and high self-awareness. When difficult situations occur, lamenting the loss, hardship, and challenge may come naturally to most, but the ability to find humor in those situations and laugh about mistakes or things beyond your control demonstrates a willingness to grow and move forward with your life. In these cases, being able to laugh when faced with challenges tends to suggest a greater ability to overcome difficulties, learn from mistakes or failures, and grow.

Laughter is sometimes called the “best medicine,” and while that claim may not be totally accurate, the truth is that laughing can contribute to a higher quality of life, a stronger sense of self, and a healthier lifestyle overall. The mental and physical benefits of a life full of laughter are plentiful, and striving to laugh more and share laughter with loved ones is a worthwhile, productive initiative. Find what makes you happy and what makes you laugh, and integrate these things into your life on a more frequent basis. When given the opportunity, share the things that entertain you with others to keep your relationships strong. At Valiant Living, we understand the importance of healthy coping mechanisms, especially when battling mental illnesses and substance use disorders. We offer treatment and counseling to men with SUDs and co-occurring disorders. Through our programs, you can learn more about what you value, what you love, and how you can improve your life. If you are interested in learning more, call Valiant Living at (303) 952-5035.