We hear the old phrase: “laughter is the best medicine” all the time, but with medical advances, does laughter really outrank prescription drugs or precision surgery as the best medicine? While science may not support the claim that it is the best medicine, it is a scientifically proven fact that laughter is a very strong, all natural, medicine. At Rebounderz indoor trampoline park, we care about the health and happiness of our patrons, so we’ve gathered the data; let’s explore the health benefits of laughing.
Benefits of Laughing
Laughing can’t replace regular cardiovascular exercise, but 10-15 minutes of laughing a day is like your own personal mini-workout! A good, hearty laughing session actually does burn a few calories. Like any form of activity, a giggle at a knee-slapping joke is probably the equivalent of walking into the gym, whereas a laughing fit is more like doing a few sit-ups, so it stands to reason that the more laughing you do, the better! When you laugh, your whole body relaxes and a rush of endorphins — the happy hormone — is released that helps your body release all the tension. Laughing is a reaction that involves your whole body, it gets your heart pumping faster, which helps to increase your energy levels in the same way that getting up and taking a short walk would!
Laughing is a natural reaction that requires a burst of energy that increases blood flow to the brain and gets your neurons firing, which has some pretty powerful benefits. Laughing releases serotonin, which is a chemical that regulates sleep, memory, mood, and body temperature. Regular laughing can help battle insomnia and allow you to sleep sounder. Many studies have shown that you are much more likely to remember something that made you smile or laugh than information that you just had to commit to memory. When you laugh a little, it can improve your memory. While whatever is making you laugh may be a temporary distraction, that distraction can be enough to clear your brain, along with increased blood flow, and help improve your concentration.
It is true that laughter is a medicine! Laughter naturally decreases cortisol — a stress hormone — and stimulates your immune system to create immune cells and antibodies. This helps you to combat infections and helps your resistance to disease. Studies have shown that cancer patients with a sense of humor lived longer than those who laughed less. It is unclear if it is due more to the positive outlook in someone with a vigorous thirst for humor, or if there is a direct immune system connection. One thing is well documented, though, which is laughter’s ability to relieve pain. Although laughter does not take the pain away, it can help alter the perception of pain and provide a positive distraction from something painful. Laughing helps to naturally lower blood pressure and gets your blood pumping faster, which helps protect your heart. Laugh to help prevent heart disease! Laughing also helps to regulate hormones which helps all your bodily functions to run better and decreases the risk of disease.
When most people think of laughing, they think of the emotional benefits it has, as they seem pretty obvious. Laughing is an automatic mood booster, which helps to inspire hope and see the bright side of things. When people laugh in “inappropriate” situations, it is a natural remedy to correct the uncomfortable, sad, or painful feelings they may be experiencing. Laughing helps to reduce stress by relieving tension and improving your mood. This can actually give you a more positive outlook on stressful situations or life in general, increasing joy in your life without changing circumstances. A major benefit of laughing is it can quickly defuse anger, as laughing is connected to happiness — the polar opposite of anger. Laughter also helps to shift perspective and see things in a more realistic light, that is often clouded by anger. Laughter and smiling also helps you to forget about resentments, judgments, criticisms, fear, and doubt, which are all common root causes of anger.
As children, we tend to laugh, play, and act silly more. As we grow older, we are “tamed” into sitting still, being more serious and polite, to the point that we sacrifice fun and excitement. Life’s burdens get heavier the older we get, coupled with society’s expectation of work over play, it is no wonder why early adulthood where most behavioral health disorders begin to disrupt life. Laughing helps to reduce stress and lighten burdens. Laughing is a natural anti-depressant which can also help ease anxiety by stopping distressing emotions. Laughing allows you to deeply express emotion. Although laughing is primarily a happy reaction, it can be felt as deeply and release as much emotion — both positive and negative — as a strong cry. When emotions are expressed, rather than bottled up, they are less likely to wear you down; laughing is a positive outlet for any emotion. A humorous perspective on life, even in negative situations, helps create a psychological distance from the situation, which can help avoid feeling overwhelmed. It is true that a sense of humor is a coping mechanism as it helps to strengthen resilience when you are able to “laugh it off” when life is dark and painful.
Although it is more than possible to laugh alone, it is the social aspect of laughter that plays an important role. Think of your favorite person, what is it you love about them so much? Chances are it has something to do with their smile, the way they make you smile, their sense of humor, their laugh, or the way they make you laugh. Laughter is more contagious than the flu! Have you ever heard someone in a gut-clenching laughing fit and been able to not even crack a half smile? It’s nearly impossible! People love to share laughs and make each other laugh. Laughing attracts people to each other. You may be attracted to someone by their laugh, or in a crowd want to be where the laughing is happening; laughing means fun. This is why laughing helps to enhance teamwork — even in a group of people that don’t get along! Laughing helps to build relationships and promotes bonding by sharing an emotional connection and defusing conflict.
How to Laugh
Laughter is a natural, biological process, you were meant to do it! Before you understood words that make jokes, you were laughing. Even if you grew up in a household where laughs were silenced and humor stifled, you are never too old to learn to laugh!
It really is as easy as that. You don’t have to hear a joke or think about something funny, just start with a smile and go from there. You may even giggle at how silly you think you look just smiling at nothing! Embrace the ridiculous and express yourself with a smile.
That’s right, just laugh. Not the “lol” you texted without cracking a smile, but force out a laugh. Fake a laugh if you have to. It’s okay to let out a “ha-ha-ha” to get you started with a real laugh. If you can’t find the funny, simulated laughter can be just as beneficial as the real thing.
Listen to Laughter and Move Toward it
Play a YouTube video of a baby laughing and try not to smile! Listen to laughter and you are likely to laugh, which is why sitcoms have laughter snippets — that’s right, it’s not just to let you know when a joke was made! When you hear laughter, move toward it. Ask “what is so funny?” It’s not usually rude or butting in (setting will dictate), people want to share laughter. It is likely that when you ask, whoever is laughing will share with you so they can laugh again and share the fun with you.
Spending Time With Humorous People
Negativity is just as contagious as laughter. Boot the negative from your life and spend time with the humorous, playful people you know. Their positive, fun energy will start to rub off on you.
Make time for fun! Host a game night with humorous friends or do something silly. Spend time goofing around with children or pets. Watch a funny movie or read the funny pages in the newspaper. Make time for fun activities such as bowling or karaoke.
Jump on a Trampoline
That’s right, jump on a trampoline and you’ll be laughing in no time. Have you ever seen someone jumping on a trampoline that wasn’t smiling? We dare you to come to a Rebounderz indoor trampoline park in a bad mood, spend an hour trampoline rebounding, and not laugh! It’s impossible.
Laughing, like exercise and fun, is good for your physical and emotional health. Be sure to take time to find the joy in life and a reason to smile. Seek out laughter even when life becomes hectic and stressful. Take some time to laugh and lighten up. When you find your inner child and take things a little less seriously, you can be happier, calmer, and more productive. At Rebounderz Extreme Fun Center of Grand Rapids, we are not a medical clinic, but we can offer you fun, exercise, and laughter! Stop by and bounce with us today!