Laugh Off Your Stress
Read Time: 2 min 16 secs
Feeling stressed? Tense? Depressed? According to The American Institute of Stress, 80 percent of US workers suffer from work-related stress. Women tend to express more difficulty with stress, perhaps because of the many hats they have to wear. Not to mention that 62 percent of people end their day with neck pain and another 34 percent report difficulty sleeping. Stress can rear its ugly head in all ages and stages of life, causing an array of effects on our bodies, minds, and overall life. April recognizes National Stress Awareness Month and its goal to raise awareness of how stress directly can affect our health and overall wellbeing.
During April, we also recognize National Humor Month! It is a great time to recognize how important laughter is in your life. Laughing regularly can lead to improved immunity, increased connection with others, a more positive attitude, and a reduction in the symptoms of stress.
There is no one way to define stress, but most commonly it refers to a “physical, mental, or emotional strain or tension,” according to The American Institute of Stress. When people discuss stress, they are referring to something that causes pain or negative emotions. When discussing chronic stress, we may feel physical effects such as headaches, chest pains, and body aches. Or it may take a more emotional toll on you such as depression, anxiety, or anger. Chronic, untreated stress has been linked to serious health conditions such as obesity, heart disease, increased cholesterol, high blood pressure, and diabetes. One of the great ways we can combat stress in our day is to laugh.
Laughter as Medicine
Whether you are cracking up with a friend or watching a funny cat video, laughing is a great way to relieve stress, strengthen immunity, relieve pain, and promote happiness. Laughter may not cure all our ailments but research shows that having a good laugh can provide short-term and long-term effects. Laughter is a great way to counteract the negative effects that stress may take on our bodies.
Short-term Effects of Laughter
Increases oxygen to organs: When we laugh, the oxygen we take in stimulates our heart, lungs, and muscles.
Provides an internal workout: Laughing engages our abdominal muscles, providing a great workout!
Provides a sense of release: Laugher is a great way to provide a physical and emotional release, which can reduce your stress levels.
Relieves tension: Laughing can also increase circulation in your body and help with muscle relaxation leaving you to feel more relaxed and refreshed.
Long-term Effects of Laughter
Improves mood and personal satisfaction: When we laugh it can improve our mood by increasing endorphins and reducing cortisol, dopamine, and epinephrine hormones to make life a little more enjoyable!
Improves immunity: Laughing is a great way to increase immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies, which may lead to improving your resistance to illness.
Burns calories: Laughing for 10 to 15 minutes a day could burn approximately 40 calories!
Improves mental health: Laughter is a great way to increase positivity and help you create a more positive outlook in your life and may even help you live longer.
So, go ahead, watch another video, tell another joke, or get your giggle on with some friends and enjoy all the benefits a laugh brings!