We’ve often heard the phrase “laughter is the best medicine,” and up until recently, many might have thought it was just a cliché. But there are many health benefits associated with laughing.
Dr. Susan Albers, a psychologist, said it’s OK to laugh right now. In fact, your body will thank you for it.
“When we laugh, studies have shown that it helps us to sleep better, lower blood pressure, we become more resilient to pain, it releases endorphins and also those feel-good chemicals in the brain that helps to relieve stress," Albers said.
Albers explained not only does laughing help us with our mental health, but it can also boost our physical health as well.
“It helps to increase the T cells in our body and reduce the cortisol levels that we feel when we feel stressed, and this boosts our immune system. And right now, that's what we need; we need to be at our healthiest and our immune system be working at its fullest. So, some good belly laughter is really good for all of us," Albers said.
In a time where a lot of people are working diligently to make change on a lot of serious issues, laughter can be used as a way to ease tensions.
"The thing about laughter is that it helps to ease our tension level. And right now, people are very tense; they want to make a lot of good changes. And when we insert a little bit of laughter, it helps to lower people's defenses and opens up a doorway to talk about some of these really challenging issues that are out there,” Albers said.
Albers said you have to be cautious as to how you try and make people laugh. Not all jokes are beneficial.
“When we make jokes, what we want to steer clear from is sarcasm and any kind of put-downs at the expense of anybody else because that is not funny and can actually cause some damage," Albers said.
If you’re finding it difficult to laugh right now, Albers suggests subscribing to a comedy podcast, follow accounts on social media that make you laugh or you can try what's called “laughing yoga,” which involves exercises that induce laughter. She said it works because our bodies can’t tell the difference between genuine laughter and induced laughter.