The Power of Laughter
How Laughing Can Relieve Stress
Think of all the times that you are with the people you love (whether it be in-person, on Zoom, or on the phone) and all the times you share a good laugh. The feeling after sharing a good laugh with friends and loved ones is so relaxing. All of your muscle tension seems to melt away. You feel a rush of endorphins. You may even suddenly see the world with a “glass half full” perspective.
There’s a reason why you feel this way.
The power of laughter is real, and so is the science. Laughing stimulates the sympathetic nervous system. This is the one that kicks up your heart rate, increases your respiration, and sends blood to your extremities. Then as you start to slow down the giggles, your parasympathetic nervous system activates. This is the one that will slow your heart rate, and bring you back down to a calm state. It’s this quick activation and deactivation of the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system that gives you those feelings of muscle relaxation, a rush of endorphins, and an overall “glass half full” perspective. Exercise also has the same effect on your body which is why you always feel so good afterwards.
So, you know how laughter works and why it makes you feel so good; but how can you incorporate it into your day?
Here’s a list of my favorite ways to incorporate some laughter into my day:
Follow funny meme pages on social media: My favorite thing to do at the beginning and end of each day is to hit social media for a few minutes and watch videos on my favorite comedy pages. I find this ritual to be a great way to start and end each day.
Call a friend: I always make it a point to call a certain friend every few days. This person always makes me laugh and talking to them just brightens my day.
Rewatch your favorite comedies: I’m a believer that there is no shame in rewatching movies. So if you have a favorite comedy movie, I encourage you to watch it on a Friday night (or really any night) no matter how many times you’ve seen it.
Incorporating laughter into your day shouldn’t be a daunting task. There are so many other ways to find laughter each day. I encourage you to find these activities and prioritize them. Even if you only spend 5 minutes a day laughing, you will start to feel the stress relieving benefits right away.
Now get out there and laugh!