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A Daily Dose of Laughter

Tuesday, 19 August 2014 00:00  by Emily S.

From getting enough sleep at night to modifying how you eat, there are various behaviors that can naturally improve our health. Yet the most pleasurable change is also the simplest: more laughter.

A daily dose of laughter holds the power to enrich one’s emotional, social and mental health. It is an instinctive act that makes us feel well, boosts creativity and increases social connection. And although you probably already know the short-term benefits of laughter, you may not have known its ability to transform our long-term health as well.

Laughter fights depression by releasing the same feel-good hormone that is triggered during exercise or snacking on chocolate. These natural chemicals are called endorphins. Endorphins reduce the presence of pain and generate a sense of comfort and happiness, while alleviating symptoms of depression and anxiety disorders.

Laughter builds our immune system. Laughter provides long-term benefits by fighting stress, lowering blood pressure and even enhancing the levels of immune cells and antibodies in our body.

Laughter helps people cope with challenging situations. It promotes resiliency, as we are able to see the light-hearted side of an overwhelming or stressful situation. Humor enables us to not become weighed down by negative thoughts, and instead see the circumstances for what they really are.

It promotes relaxation. Laughter stimulates blood flow and activates multiple muscle groups, resulting in physical and mental relaxation and reduced levels of stress.

Laughter helps us be mindful. Many women find themselves worrying about the future or stuck in the past, often forgetting to take note of the joys in the current moment. As we are laughing we aren’t judging ourselves from the past or anxiously awaiting the future, we are present and mindful in the moment.

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