As cliché as it may sound, laughter is legit medicine. Stress affects the voice in a ton of ways, and laughter truly helps.
How does laughter benefit us?
Here’s a summary of some current and historical research findings:
- Reduced stress by activating and releasing the “stress response”
- Increased pain tolerance
- Increased “killer cells”
- Decreased cortisol (stress hormone)
- Decreased self-perception of anxiety
- Short-lived cardiovascular improvements
- Improved mood
- Improved immune system health
This article from the Mayo clinic is a nice summary of how laughter helps us relieve stress. And this article from the NIH called The Laughter Prescription has research summaries, references, and scientific details about how laughter affects the body, mind and spirit. If you’re interested in the specifics, click through to read them.
How do we laugh more?
The first thing is to simply have it on your radar. Intend to look for opportunities to laugh.
Watch funny videos, TV shows, movies. Read funny books, stories, and articles.
Spend time with people who make you laugh. Also with people you feel safe enough with to laugh at yourself!
Have you noticed that after a jump scare in a movie, it’s common for people to laugh? It has a “you got me!” vibe, but it also is a reset for the nervous system.
What do we still need to learn?
Because of these benefits, there are various programs and modalities out there that encourage people to create laughter. Self-induced or simulated laughter is the premise of “laughter yoga”, which has some research behind it.
The short answer is this quote from The Laughter Prescription article: “Understanding the distinction between spontaneous and simulated laughter is likely to become a stronger point of emphasis moving forward.”
So laugh it up! If you have any questions or want to schedule a session, please get in touch!