Feeling stressed or anxious? We have an easy, fun, and free cure – laughter! It’s true: laughter really is strong medicine. There is no quicker or more dependable way to balance mind and body than a good laugh. Laughter boosts the immune system by causing a decrease in stress hormones and an increase in immune cells and antibodies resulting in improved disease resistance. Laughter helps blood vessels to function better and increases blood flow, helping to prevent heart disease. Following a hearty laugh, your muscles can stay relaxed for as long as 45 minutes! Laughter triggers the release of endorphins, our bodies’ natural upbeat chemicals, contributing to a sense of well-being and pain relief. A Norwegian study suggested that people who laugh more may live longer and (my favorite) you burn approximately 40 calories for every 10 to 15 minutes you spend laughing!
In addition, laughter helps maintain mental health. It makes you feel good and that feeling sticks around for a while. Laughter can also act as a distraction. When you laugh, you’re not dwelling on your cares, or feeling anxious, angry, or sad. A hearty laugh fires up and then cools down your stress response as it increases and then decreases your heart rate and blood pressure. The result is feeling good and relaxed. Laughing shifts a situation’s perspective, which can create a psychological distance helping you to feel less overwhelmed. And laughter really is contagious – just hearing laughter makes you smile and draws you closer to others.
Not only is laughter a great stress relief for adults, but for children as well! Many times, if children are upset or seemingly grumpy, what do we try to make them feel better? We make them laugh! We don’t want our children to feel stress if we can help it, but making them laugh helps stress and negative feelings fade away. Laughter can also improve sleeping habits for our children and build confidence!
Do you need more laughter in your life? We have some suggestions – smile more, count your blessings, move towards laughter when you hear it, and make time for fun and playfulness. Want to make your kids laugh? Play with them, read silly books with them and try to get back to your own childhood self and act like a lunatic! Children of all ages love to see adults act silly, and it helps them develop their own sense of humor as well. Gentle tickles, silly faces and noises, slowly playing a game of chase, and over dramatic ridiculous behavior are almost all sure ways to get children to laugh. Have you ever pretended to hurt yourself horribly in front of children? They think it is hilarious! Concerning maybe, but they often think it is just the funniest thing they ever saw.
Check out our cloudLibrary and Hoopla collections for more ways to generate laughter. We offer a variety of books and movies to tickle any funny bone! And don’t forget to complete the activities on Beanstack to earn your Silly Goose Summer Quest badge.
Bonnie W. and Elizabeth D.