While there isn’t a sound more glorious than a baby giggling, laughter from people of all ages can totally make my day. Especially when I overhear one of those contagious kinds of laughs that make me bust up myself—completely involuntarily. I don’t have to know the person laughing or even be with them to feel the compulsion to join in their cadence of amusement from across the room. Laughing is one of my favorite things.
Turns out, every time one of us breaks out in a fit of chuckles, we’re doing ourselves a favor. Laughter benefits our overall well-being in a multitude of ways. Here are a few highlights of what laughter can do for your health:
- It gives your immune system a boost, helping to keep illness at bay.
- It improves your circulation, which is good because increasing your blood flow benefits everything.
- It kicks in your endorphins and helps with pain management.
- It promotes positive emotions—grumpiness and giggling cannot coexist.
Aside from those health benefits, the ability to make someone laugh—or being a laugher yourself—makes people look at you in a positive light. Think about it. Who are you drawn to spending your free time with? More times than not, I seek out that friend who makes me laugh so much that I end up with sore muscles the next day. Those sore muscles are a sure sign I haven’t been laughing enough to keep them in shape. And the prescription for that is obviously more laughter. Don’t mind if I do!
It also seems that seeking out others is the best way to get a dose of health-inducing laughter yourself. In her TED Talk “Why We Laugh,” Sophie Scott explains that we’re 30 times more likely to laugh in a social situation than when we’re alone. Scott is a neuroscientist whose research focuses on laughter, and I love that such a thing exists! The latest in laughter research can even help us improve our relationships, romantic or otherwise. When we’re able to use laughter during stressful situations within our relationships, we immediately reduce the physical effects caused by stress. This leads to more contentment and helps us stay in each other’s lives longer. Can’t go wrong with any of that.
So whether you’re a giggler, a snorter, a shrieker, or a howler, make a point to unleash your joyful noise each and every day. Revisit a movie that made you laugh uncontrollably, check out some of the cat videos your friend always posts on social media, or pick up a joke book. Whatever it takes, just don’t forget to laugh today.
What are some of your favorite things to laugh at? A couple of things that get me every single time are Tom Hanks laughing in this scene in The Money Pit and just about any lip-sync battle from “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.”