January is usually considered to be the most depressing time of the year, but today, we say goodbye to the miseries and stresses of the month and instead celebrate Global Belly Laugh Day. To mark the occasion, and to provide a good excuse for a chuckle or two, we’ve outlined five of the best-known health benefits of laughing.
1. Laughter can reduce stress
Laughter has been proven to reduce stress hormone levels, lowering stress and anxiety. Ever notice how a laugh or a joke with colleagues or friends helps to reduce your stress levels? Make time in your day to enjoy a bit of a giggle and you’ll feel more relaxed about your day ahead. Reduced stress levels also help to boost your immunity, so making the effort to laugh can help to ward off common colds and other illnesses that tend to hit us when we’re feeling stressed.
2. It’s a form of cardio exercise
Now, we’re not saying you should use laughing as an excuse not to exercise, but laughter can in fact help to boost your cardiovascular health. Like exercise, laughing gets your heart rate pumping, helping you to burn the same amount of calories as a leisurely walk. Whilst not a substitute for regular exercise, laughing can certainly help to keep your heart healthy.
3. Laughing can be pain relief
Laughing promotes the release of endorphins, and endorphins are known to help ease pain. If you suffer from chronic pain therefore or you are suffering period pains or a headache, a bit of laughter could help you to feel better.
4. It’s a great mood booster
Most of us feel better when we’ve had a good laugh about something, and it’s been proven that those who laugh regularly have a much more positive outlook on life, which is evidenced in those who are faced with life-threatening conditions. People who laugh more will be less negative, and have a more upbeat attitude too.
How to bring more laughter into your life
If you feel that you’ve been lacking some laughter recently, use Global Belly Laugh Day as a good excuse to start, it’s good for your health after all! Some tips for laughing more include:
Surround yourself with people who make you laugh
Think back to the last time you remember laughing a lot, who were you with? Surrounding yourself with these people will be sure to encourage you to laugh more as well as create funny memories together.
Seen or heard something funny? Write it down
Next time you laugh about something or find something funny, write it down. Then, the next time you feel like you need a bit of a boost, you can read over your entries to reminisce about the things that got you chuckling once more.
Indulge yourself with some funny films or TV programmes
Most people have a film or TV series which has made them laugh out loud – find yours and watch whenever you need a bit of laughter. Looking up ‘you may also enjoy’ titles can also help you to find things with similar humour which you may enjoy, giving you a great go-to list next time you need cheering up.
Laugh off embarrassment
Whilst doing something embarrassing can make us want to hide in a hole, learning how to laugh about it can make us feel so much better, giving us great stories to tell to others to make them laugh too.
Make other people laugh
It may not just be you who needs a bit of a laughter boost, there may be other people in your life who have been a bit down lately and need cheering up. Make an effort to make them laugh and they’ll be sure to be grateful you did.
Global Belly Laugh Day is a great excuse to surround yourself with laughter. Make the effort to do something funny today, either with your family, your co-workers or your friends to spread the laughter, and reap the health benefits it can bring too.