The Secret Benefits of Humor and Laughter
Smiling, laughter, and humor have so many benefits that it makes sense to have a day to celebrate this natural mood booster. National Smile Day is this week and I I invite you to celebrate with a big laugh and really experience the benefits of humor and laughter.
There are three theories about laughter. The relief theory supports the idea that laughter brings relaxation from tension and stress. The incongruity theory explains we laugh at things that challenge our ideas or provide us an unexpected turn of perspective. The superiority theory describes how laughter serves as a way to get close to others, to unify a group of people.
Researchers have found multiple benefits of humor and laughter.
They have found multiple benefits of humor and laughter for the body and mind, including the following: reduction of stress and anxiety: Laughter helps to reduce stress while improving optimism, hope and happiness! It can also be used as a coping skill, decreasing the impact of challenging situations. In this sense, laughing won’t solve the problem but it can make it more bearable.
“Laughter is the sun that drives winter from the human face” said Victor Hugo. Using humor, negative experiences can be transformed into positive ones- at least for a while. Think about some of the incongruent situations that you have encountered and how surreal and funny they can be sometimes. So by changing your perspective, the problem may seem less threatening. Laughter also releases endorphins, the feel-good hormone, in the same way exercise does.
As I just mentioned, laughter produces endorphins, which in turn creates a feel-good sensation. Increasing endorphins is a factor in experiencing reduced pain.
Laughter relieves tension by relaxing your muscles. This may be why “wet pants accidents” can happen during a good big laugh.
Laughter promotes bonding, strengthening the connection between people who laugh together. Humor can be very important for couples as it has the power to transform an argument to laughter when well managed. Also, those inside jokes you share with your partner are a unique and invaluable bonding tool only you two have and share.
Laughter draws you closer to others and improves your social support, which can provide a lot of benefits of humor and laughter. Laughing and having a good time can improve group identity, solidarity and cohesiveness.
It isn’t everyday when you discover something that is both fun and healthy at the same time. A person spends up to 20% more energy when laughing than when resting. Losing weight just by laughing? Sign me up!
Different methods using simulated laughter techniques have been created to improve health with the benefits of humor and laughter. The body doesn’t know the difference between spontaneous laughter and simulated laughter, producing the same benefits. Laughter meditation, solo laughter, laughter yoga, electronic laughter, laughter sounds and even laughter gymnastics are some of these techniques. What does this all mean? It means that no matter if you experience spontaneous giggles or have to fake a smile or a laugh, you will still experience the benefits of humor and laughter.
What kind of laughter are you planning to practice today? Go ahead, be silly today and experience the benefits of humor and laughter!