How much laughter is there in your day? As children, we laughed all the time about anything and everything, hundreds of times a day – over 400 according to researchers. Unfortunately, as adults this number is significantly reduced to approximately 40 times a day for those 50+.
As grownups, it’s easy to let the stress of the world, of our family, and of our personal situations get to us. There are financial worries, work deadlines, health issues, and adult responsibilities like cleaning the house to think about. But in doing so, we’re missing out on the benefits of the lighter side of life, including laughter.
We’ve all heard the saying ‘laughter is the best medicine,’ but did you know there’s actually some truth to that?
Laughing doesn’t just feel good, it is good for us. For example, laughter can:
- Relax your body – a heartfelt laugh relieves physical tension and stress, which can leave muscles relaxed for up to 45 minutes.
- Boost your immune system – laughing increases immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies while decreasing stress hormones that can make you susceptible to illness.
- Trigger the release of endorphins – endorphins are the body’s natural feel-good chemical that promote an overall sense of well-being.
- Protect the heart – laughter improves the function of blood vessels and increases blood flow, both of which are good for your heart.
- Stop distressing emotions – laughter increases positive energy and decreases feelings of anxiety, anger or sadness.
- Draw you closer to others – a shared laugh can forge a bond, and strong friendships have a positive impact on mental, emotional, and even physical health.
Here’s another fact you might not have known: laughter is contagious. So the more laughter you bring into your own life, the happier those around you will be and vice versa. And since people are much more likely to laugh in the company of others, being social is the best way to bring more laughter into your life.
Make time each week, but preferably each day, to spend with friends and family. It can be a quick chat over coffee, a round of golf, or a night out at a comedy show. The more you surround yourself with others, the more the laughs will come. So put yourself out there, introduce yourself to new people, and let friendships form.