Who doesn’t love a good belly laugh? Regardless if it’s watching a funny YouTube video or reminiscing about a hilarious event from your past, laughter connects you to a moment of pure happiness and joy. However, did you know laughter is also a very physical experience? When you laugh, your lungs fill with air, facial muscles stretch, and abdominal muscles tighten, causing your pulse and blood pressure to rise, similar to how your body reacts when you exercise.
Just like exercise, laughter is good for your health. It improves blood flow, strengthens your immune system and lowers blood sugar levels. Additionally, laughter triggers a relaxation response in the brain, which can temporarily relieve pain and help you sleep better.
Laughter also reduces the stress chemicals in your brain and increases the amount of oxygen flowing through your brain and body, which is great for your mental health. Laughing can even turn a negative experience into a positive one and can brighten your mood for the rest of the day. Additionally, people are drawn to you when you laugh because it spreads positivity and good feelings. So, if you want to make some friends, laugh more!
Laughter has a contagious quality that is triggered by others. People who spend leisure time with friends and family members laugh more. So, if you are looking to laugh more, try watching funny videos on YouTube with your friends, or go see a funny movie to experience the contagious quality of laughter felt in a movie theater. Or try a comedy club for the ultimate laughter experience.
If you want to try something new and different to improve your mental health, check out one of the laughter yoga clubs in Denver or Boulder. In these yoga classes, an instructor stimulates natural laughter from students by directing the class through a series of group exercises. A typical laughter yoga class lasts between 30 minutes and an hour, resulting in a real workout for the body and the mind, simply by laughing together.
Don’t just take our word for it – the next time you’re feeling down or stressed, try laughing to improve your mental health. And, if you notice anyone else that needs some cheering up – go out of your way to try and make them laugh. Try out that new joke that you’ve been holding onto for the perfect moment, or share that funny YouTube video you found the other day.
If you, or anyone you know need assistance with a mental health issue, visit www.communityreachcenter.org or call (303) 853-3500, Monday through Friday, 8:00am to 5:00pm. We’re here to help!