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Laughter and Mental Health

While it may seem impossible to find humor in anything currently happening in our world, laughter is one of the best (and cheapest) ways to get through it. In the following article we have the science behind laughter and its positive affect on mental health, as well as some ways to start giggling more today.

It is true what they say. Laughing is good for the soul. Studies have shown time and again that people who laugh regularly have better relationships, health and mental well-being.

Laughter helps you feel good, even when things are not going well and can quickly reduce high stress situations. Even a smile has the power to change the outlook of a day, or the tone of a situation. A few benefits laughter has on your mental health include:

  • Being able to see situations in a less threatening light. Laughter creates some psychological distance from a situation that helps to eliminate conflict. Seeing the humor in even the worst situations provides an element of realism and keeps you from becoming overwhelmed.

  • Are you feeling anxious or angry about something? Turn on a funny movie or comedy sketch. It has been proven you cannot feel those negative emotions while you are laughing. Humor is an instant mood switcher.

  • Laughter can help relax you in even the most stressful situations. It can also increase your energy and help you stay focused. Not only will you feel better from the laughter, but you will also feel good getting a lot accomplished with that better focus.

  • A good giggle can help bring you closer to the people in your life. We are a social species and the better our relationships are, the better our mental and emotional health become too. Laughter allows us to be freer and express our true feelings with the people we care most about.

With everything that happened in 2020 and carrying into 2021—especially Covid-19’s current prevalence, it may seem impossible to find the humor in anything. However, we do have a few ideas to up your laughs and keep your mental health steady through these trying times.

  • A smile is the beginning stage of laughter and it is very contagious. While it may seem difficult at times (especially while wearing masks), make a conscious effort to smile at the people you see throughout your day. Not only will you feel better, but you will probably make someone’s day and we all could use a little more of that.

  • Try to spend the majority of your time around fun people with a good sense of humor. You are the company you keep after all. Being around people that find humor not only in the situations around you, but in themselves helps spread joy. More joy equals more laughs and more laughs equals better mental health.

  • Bring humor into everyday conversations you have with people. You don’t even have to be funny or a comedian to accomplish this. Simply asking someone about the funniest thing they saw this week, or the most off-the-wall customer they dealt with that day is sure to garner some laughs with little effort on your part.

  • Still having a hard time finding the humor in things? Listen to simulated laughter. Seriously. The simple act of hearing laughter, even for no apparent reason can make you laugh too. There is a reason sitcoms use a studio audience or simulated laughter. It makes the show more enjoyable.

Ok, so maybe you personally don’t have a great sense of humor, but there are a few things you can do to help develop it.

  • Learn to laugh at yourself. Did you do something embarrassing? Share it with your friends and family. The best senses of humor develop out of people who don’t take themselves too seriously. Everyone makes gaffs in their day-to-day lives. You might as well reap the mental health benefits and get a chuckle out of it too.

  • Make lemons out of lemonade. It’s easy to get down in negative situations, but what if you could find something funny in those moments? They probably won’t seem so bad anymore. Life is ironic and absurd so keeping it light and fun is a great place to develop your sense of humor.

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