Have you ever had a good belly laugh and said to yourself, “Wow! I really needed that!” There is good reason an entire industry is based solely on laughter. People flock to see their favorite comedians and eagerly tune in to comedy TV shows and movies to get their giggle on. In fact, in the US, comedy clubs alone bring in over $300 million per year and some comedians are among the wealthiest people in the country. We are literally paying people to make us laugh. Why is that? When we have a good laugh, we feel relaxed, happier, grounded, and present – and there is science to back this up!
According to the Mayo Clinic, laughing has both short- and long-term benefits for the body. In the short-term, laughing can help stimulate your heart, lungs and muscles and increases endorphins released by the brain. It can help to activate and relieve your stress response, increasing and then decreasing your heart rate and blood pressure. Laughing can also help to reduce the physical symptoms of stress by stimulating circulation and aiding in muscle relaxation. In the long-term, it can help to improve your immune system through the release of neuropeptides that help fight stress, increase your personal satisfaction by making difficult situations easier to cope with, and improve your mood and self-esteem by lessening your stress, depression and anxiety.
So, laughter IS the best medicine after all! The next time you feel stressed out, sad, overwhelmed, anxious, or a bit lackluster, think about the last time you had a REALLY good belly laugh. You might be surprised to find a good amount of time has passed since your last guffaw. In honor of Global Belly Laugh Day, make sure to get your daily dose of giggles by googling your favorite comedian or calling a funny friend. Watch those silly pet videos on your favorite platform or stream your favorite sitcom. Whatever you do, make sure you get 10 minutes of laughter each day. And remember…“Always laugh when you can, it is cheap medicine.” ― Lord Byron