Getting Some Laughs May Actually Be Beneficial For Your Health

When was the last time you laughed? Maybe it was because of a friend who told a corny joke, a silly video on TikTok, or a comedy special on Netflix. Although humor can help you look at life a little more lightheartedly, laughter also has some health benefits. Health psychologist Grace Tworek told Cleveland Clinic that laughter cues your relaxation response. When your life has significant stressors, a little humor says, "Chill out" to your nervous system. Laughter also brings you together in social situations so you feel connected to others. How many speeches begin with a good joke? That's to disarm the stress.

A good belly laugh rejuvenates your body with fresh oxygen and eventually calms your heart rate. This surge in blood flow is good for your heart. According to a 2009 article in The FASEB Journal, laughter might also lower your risk of heart disease by affecting your cholesterol levels and chemicals that lead to heart problems.

Laughter can improve your heart health

The research study followed 20 people with diabetes, hypertension, and high cholesterol for a year, with some people tasked with watching 30 minutes of something humorous every day. Both groups took medications for their conditions. After just two months, the humor group had increased their HDL cholesterol levels (the "good" kind). At the four-month mark, the humor group also had lower levels of inflammatory markers that point to high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease.

Daily laughter might also be linked to a lower risk of heart disease, according to a 2016 article in the Journal of Epidemiology. The study asked more than 20,000 people in Japan how often they laughed and whether they were diagnosed with heart disease. People who never laughed had a higher prevalence of heart disease compared to people who found something to laugh about every day. Laughing was also associated with a lower risk of stroke. The researchers did point out that the results could indicate reverse causation, meaning that people with heart disease or stroke could have fewer reasons to laugh.

How to add more laughter into your life

A good laugh can help shake you out of a serious or distressing situation if you let it, according to Think about it — how hard is it to remain angry when you're cracking up over that video on TikTok on Instagram? Laughing allows you to release your defensiveness and inhibitions.

Even if you can't find something on your phone to laugh about, try looking up from your phone and smiling at other people. See if other people smile back. When you find yourself stuck in a negative loop of thoughts, write down a few things you're grateful for, even if it's something simple like a good breath. Sometimes you can get stuck with miserable company, so seek out the company of people who make you laugh.

You can also fake it. Simulated laughter works almost as well as genuine laughter. When you watch a show with a laugh track, laugh with it, even if you don't find it funny. Most of all, find ways to laugh at yourself by sharing embarrassing moments.