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Improve Your Health with Laughter

Since I’ve been struggling with my anger the last few weeks, I am finding that I get a lot of benefit when I can forget my anger and laugh. I feel better, physically and emotionally. This isn’t unusual, though. Numerous studies indicate that laughter really is good for you.

Laughter and Physical Changes

It makes sense that laughter contributes to a better mental state. After all, a positive attitude can go a long way toward helping your mental and emotional state. Additionally, chances are that, if you laugh a great deal, there is someone in your life that helps you laugh. That implies emotional connections and strong, healthy relationships.

So, while the emotional benefits of laughter are not terribly surprising, it can be a little interesting to consider that your physical state changes with laughter. According to Web MD, the physiological changes that come with laughter can be of benefit. Some of them include:

  • Muscles throughout the body stretch — particularly in the face.
  • The pulse quickens.
  • Breath comes faster, oxygenating tissues.
  • If your laughter is combined with movement, such as waving your hands or arms, it can boost your heart rate further.

While laughing isn’t the same thing as getting a vigorous workout, the changes in your body are similar to a burst of exercise. And studies indicate that 10 to 15 minutes of laughter burn about 50 calories. Of course, 50 calories isn’t that much. And laughing for 15 minutes isn’t going to benefit you physically the same way 15 minutes of walking or vigorous exercise will. But there are physical benefits to laughter as well as emotional benefits, and that’s worth considering.

3 Tips for Bringing More Laughter Into Your Laugh

If you are having trouble laughing, you can actually?decide to laugh more. First of all, make it a conscious decision so that you will laugh more readily. Decide that you want to enjoy life more, and laughter will be more common. Here are 3 ways you can bring a little more laughter into your life:

  1. Play with children or with animals: Playing with your kids can be a great way to enjoy life and add laughter. Be silly with them, and you will laugh more. You can also get some benefit from playing with animals. The antics of your favorite pet can be soothing and fun. I derive great enjoyment from watching some of the things my fish do.
  2. Enjoy funny media: Read or watch something that you find funny. I love watch movies and TV shows with clever humor. I also enjoy reading satire. One of my favorite authors is Terry Pratchett. When I need a pick-me-up, I read one of his Discworld novels and I laugh — and feel immediately better.
  3. Share a joke with a friend: You can laugh by sharing a joke with a friend, or asking someone to share a joke with you. Sharing time with a loved one is a great way to enhance the effects of laughter. My husband and I share a number of jokes, and we even laugh at ourselves.

When you look for ways to invite laughter in your life, you are more likely to feel satisfied and fulfilled, and you are more likely to be healthier as well.

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