When’s the last time you laughed? Like, really laughed? In what seems like a never-ending pandemic, it’s possible it’s been awhile. Yet, they say laughter is the best medicine and the research bears this out. The benefits of laughter are often underestimated, but it’s exactly what you might need. 

If you can’t remember the last time you laughed, it’s not surprising. As the years go by, we laugh less and less. We fall off the “humor cliff.” Between the ages of 23 and 70 our laughter declines. The average 4-year old laughs up to 300 times per day; by age 40 the average person is laughing that often in 2.5 months. We lose our ability to laugh. 

Here’s why we need to recapture that ability to experience the benefits of laughter. 

It relieves stress.  

Who doesn’t need a little stress relief? It’s just what the doctor ordered. One of the interesting benefits of laughter is that it improves our emotional and physical wellbeing. We not only experience mental relief when we laugh, but it also decreases our heart rate and blood pressure. We might feel our shoulders and neck relax or feel a burst of endorphins that quickly improves our mood and reduces stress. The physical release helps our bodies feel better. 

Promotes better long-term health.

Not only do we experience the immediate impact of laughter on our emotional and physical health, we reap long-term benefits as well. It may help us build a stronger immune system by warding off chemical reactions that harm us. Or we might experience pain relief, improved mood longer term, or better relational wellbeing. These surprising benefits of laughter help us both short and long-term. 

Makes us less serious. 

While you may not have been born a natural comedian, having a good sense of humor is beneficial for life happiness and social wellbeing. The good news is, it can be learned. When you learn to laugh at your mistakes or tell a great joke, you begin to naturally laugh more often and reap the benefits of laughter. Laughter serves as a good distraction and wards off negative emotions when you choose to enjoying the lighter side of life.  

Helps us build better relationships

Laughter and smiles connect us to one another. A shared laugh is good for the soul and builds bridges between those who share it. People enjoy being around others who laugh and it truly is contagious! As you make laughter part of your everyday life, you will experience not only the benefits of laughter but of stronger social relationships as well. 

If you need to find your funny bone, grab a good book, watch a sit-com, or give your silly friend a call. Make it your intention to find a reason to laugh everyday so that you can start experiencing the benefits of laughter. Your shift toward the positive just might have an impact on those around you, too, as you become that person who makes their day just a little bit brighter.