Amy Rees Anderson

Don’t Forget To Laugh!

“Laughter is one of the most amazing things in life. It is more contagious that any disease and it brings people together very quickly. Not only does it spread like wildfire, it is proven that laughter can have a positive effect on your body as well as your mind.“

It is really easy to get bogged down and become too serious about things. When you start to feel down, don`t forget to LAUGH! The power of laughter is incredible.  The benefits that come from laughter would amaze you!  A few years ago I spent time researching the benefits of laughter and I came across all kinds of amazing data about it (I just wish I had saved the source data for all the research I did years ago, but I didn’t so I apologize for that!), but the information was so good that I wanted to share it with you:

Some fun facts: Smiling is contagious, and children do it as often as 400 times a day. In brain studies, a smile stimulates the brain as much as 2,000 bars of chocolate and lowers stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline all while boosting positive ones.

Physical Benefits:  Some physical benefits of laughter include energy boosts, stress relief and a stronger immune system! It can decrease pain and relax your muscles and can even help prevent heart disease.  Some people compare the feeling after laughter to the feeling after a mild work out. In a way, it is a work out: you are able to exercise your diaphragm, contract your abdominal muscles and your shoulders (and even your arms if you are really getting a good laugh). Laughter can increase the blood flow, amount of oxygen taken in, heart rate and stretching of muscle throughout your body. Laughter may even protect your heart, help your body relax and lower stress hormones.

Mental Benefits: Benefits for the mind will include the release of stress, anxiety and fear, which will improve your mood which may cause a domino effect to the people around you who are affected by your mood. It also strengthens your mind for combat and keeps you optimistic and hopeful about your life. It helps you relax and can even help you refocus in an entirely new direction.  Laughter and humor is just as good for the mind as it is for the body, if not better. It can help mitigate distressing emotions and help you relax and recharge. Humor can also help us shift perspectives on challenging situations and see them in a less threatening manner that can otherwise overwhelm us.

Social Benefits: Social benefits to laughter can include attracting new friends, strengthening current and new relationships and helps calm down conflicts. People laughing together can form an instant bond that can last for a long time, if not forever. Laughing a lot can help you become more spontaneous and help you express yourself more openly.  Having laughter in our lives can improve the relationships we have. Laughter and humor trigger positive feelings and can strengthen our relationships with one another. I’m sure most of us have bonded with someone over something humorous. Sometimes, a laugh is all it takes to dissipate tension, awkwardness or conflict among one another. It helps make the emotional bonds strong with others. By laughing you not only benefit yourself, but you can also help reduce stress of others around you. After all, laughter is contagious.

“Your sense of humor is one of the most powerful tools you have to make certain that your daily mood and emotional state support good health.” – Dr. Paul E. McGhee

One reason I love Halloween so much is that we can stop being serious, dress up in fun costumes, act like a kid for a day and eat lots of candy, and LAUGH! So as you walk out the door in the morning, just like a mother reminds her child to put on their coat, remind yourself:   “DON’T FORGET TO LAUGH!”

~Amy

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