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No fooling! Laughter is the best medicine

Published in General, For the Health of It Author: Diane Reller, MS, LMFT, LADC

Even though we don’t know the exact origin of April Fools’ Day, most of us have played a trick on another to celebrate the holiday for practical jokes. Today, try a good-natured laugh to really find out how far a big smile can take you!

Just like smiles, laughter is contagious. Laughter has physical, mental and social benefits.

Triggering positive physical changes in the body, laughter:

  • Boosts immunity
  • Lowers stress hormones
  • Decreases pain
  • Relaxes your muscles

Mental health gets a boost because laughter:

  • Dissolves distressing emotions (anxiety, angry and sadness)
  • Helps you relax and recharge
  • Shifts your perspective so you can see situations more realistically (less threatening)

Shared laughter helps to strengthen relationships. Those social bonds act as a buffer during times of stress. Humor also is a powerful tool to help heal resentments and disagreements.

 Tips for increasing laughter:

  • Learn to love your own laugh. Have you ever listened to the belly laugh of a child?
  • Hang around fun people, and look for the humor in everyday life. Remember this saying: “The richest laugh is at no one’s expense.”
  • Bring the spirit of laughter into your home and workspace; give yourself and others permission to be playful.
  • Know your sense of humor, and seek to laugh with others before worrying about your own wit. It will come more naturally.

The best thing about laughter is that there are no negative side effectives — but it is addicting!