19 Nov Laughter as Medicine: How Smiling + Giggling Help You Heal
Sometimes even when we least feel like laughing, it’s the thing we need the most. We all go through hard times in life: emotional pain, grief, and sadness are all completely natural.
While it’s okay (and often healthy!) to let yourself feel these emotions rather than blocking yourself off from them, it’s important to take steps to help you heal and move forward with your life. And laughter is one of the best ways to do just that.
What Laughter Does to Your Body
The benefits of smiling and laughing go beyond the surface of our bodies, affecting everything from the circulatory and musculoskeletal systems to the endocrine and nervous systems.
When you’re nervous, a burst of laughter can help lower your blood pressure and heart rate. When you smile, your facial muscles trigger endorphins and neurons in your brain, boosting your happiness. Laughter also increases your intake of oxygen, which stimulates your organs and muscles, and releases tension in the body.
Even “fake” smiling — smiling to yourself in the mirror — can trigger these same endorphins in the brain, making you feel happier. It’s a real life example of “fake it ‘til you make it”!
Other health benefits include reduced anxiety and stress, less physical pain, and a stronger immune system.
Smiling & Laughing is Contagious
As human beings, we try to find connections with others around us, both intentionally and subconsciously. Studies have suggested that we have an instinct for mimicking facial expressions, such as smiling, to help us empathize or understand other people’s feelings.
So if you’ve found it difficult to smile or laugh lately, try spending more time with other people who smile and laugh all the time. Whether you meet up with friends who are always telling great jokes, or laugh with others in the audience at a comedy show, you might find that laughter can help you feel more connected with others around you, and ultimately feeling in a much better mood.
Here are a few ideas to give you a grin or giggle on hard days:
- Save your favorite funny videos by creating a playlist on Youtube. If there are a handful of videos that always crack you up, add them to your list to re-watch later, or to share them with friends when they need a pick-me-up!
- Read books that make you laugh. David Sedaris is one of my personal favorites, but there are plenty of hilarious writers out there to get you back to feeling more like yourself.
- Look for humor in the little things in life. Whether it’s something your pets or children did, or you find something to laugh about yourself, try looking at your daily life in a new light.
Find Laughter at LunaVox
At LunaVox Transformative Healing, one of our favorite guiding principles is humor. No matter the pain or physical discomfort you’re feeling, we always aim to have you leaving our chiropractic office in a lighter, freer, happier state, because we know that laughter and joy are unquestionably the best medicine.