Why Laughter Is Good for The Soul
Have you ever wondered why you enjoy laughing so much? It’s because laughter is good for the soul. Laughter is defined as a physical human reaction in which our diaphragm contracts and produces a rhythmical or audible sound. That’s one way to explain it, at least, and there’s no denying there is a science behind the laughter that makes laughter the very best medicine.
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Laughter is a bodily exercise, precious to health. – Aristotle
Katelyn Redfoot | April 18, 2020
A Therapist’s Perspective on why laughter is good for the soul.
I’m fascinated by the motto: “Laugh – and the world laughs with you; cry – and you cry alone.” by Ella Wheeler Wilcox (November 5, 1850 – October 30, 1919).
Therapy offers a place for people to bring both their sadness and their joy. That’s important when clients feel isolated and alienated because of their sadness.
I know that clients are making important steps on their road to recovery when we begin to share jokes, engage in joint laughter, connect with humor. We both benefit from the felt experience that shared laughter as good for the soul.
This blog contains some fantastic tips on how you can build and increase your capacity for connection through laughter in your daily life. The well-being and mental health benefits of laughter are impressive. Laughter really is good for the soul.
Why Laughter Is Good For The Soul And The Body
You may have heard that laughter is good medicine, and that’s because laughter is linked to positive health. But have you heard that laughter is good for the soul and the body as well?
When was the last time you laughed so hard you couldn’t breathe, or you thought you might have a heart attack if you didn’t stop laughing so hard?
Though our physical body response is a contraction of the diaphragm and other parts of the respiratory system, the positive changes in emotional responses that arise from laughter contribute to these physical body benefits and help lead to overall both mentally and physically.
Laughter boosts your immunity, relaxes all your body’s muscles, reduces stress, and improves blood flow to your heart and brain.
So, a good belly laugh appears to be a kind of an elixir for improving our overall physical health.
I don’t know about you, but even in difficult times when nothing seems to be going quite right, a good sense of humor can be nothing short of a life savior.
You may have also heard that laughter reduces our pain levels, and that’s because humor and laughter are associated with increased pain thresholds.
Is it a natural painkiller? I’m not sure, but I’ve heard many stories of people feeling better after a hearty laugh while lying in a hospital bed.
All of these benefits, from a heart that pumps better and more evenly to an immune system that produces infection-fighting antibodies to reduce your risk of disease, can all be attributed to your mind-body connection.
When you laugh, your brain produces chemicals that trigger these responses.
What your brain produces depends partly on your feelings and thoughts, so even if you are not feeling well but maintain a positive attitude through laughter, your brain is more likely to produce chemicals that boost your body’s healing power.
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Laughter Can Boost Your Spirit
As you have likely put together by now, it is challenging to discuss solely how laughter helps the body without mentioning how laughter boosts your mood and vice versa.
One fundamental way of understanding how laughter is good for the soul and the mood is by understanding stress’s impact on your health. Or how you handle stress, that is.
The physical body reaction, known as the fight-or-flight response, is meant to alert and help you out when you are in danger.
When stressed, your body will react by increasing your breathing, heart rate, and blood pressure. It also can cause your muscles to tense.
However, when you constantly feel this way, stress has an adverse impact on your emotions, causing you to feel upset, moody, tense, or depressed.
So the next time you’re feeling stressed, think about how laughter can reduce your stress hormones, including cortisol, epinephrine (adrenaline), and dopamine. Laughter also increases your endorphins, often referred to as your happiness hormones!
Because laughter also helps relieve physical tension, your mind and spirit will follow suit, promoting a sense of ease and calm physically and mentally.
“There is nothing in the world so irresistibly contagious as laughter and good humor.”
~ Charles Dickens
Why A Good Laugh Is Contagious
Have you ever wondered why you so readily laugh when someone else is laughing, even when you have no idea what’s going on? We’ve all been there, and we’re all curious.
For one, laughing connects you to others. How can that explain why we laugh more when TV sitcoms utilize laugh tracks in their episodes? It’s not as if we are sharing a genuine moment of connection with the characters.
We are, however, connected to them through laughter. While we are always more likely to laugh around other people, even just hearing laughter triggers our brain and causes us to laugh in response.
Don’t be afraid to laugh first when you’re in a crowd because you know other people are just holding it back too.
Laughter Can Make You More Attractive
While people do not love it when you laugh at them, they appreciate it when you laugh at yourself. It is not necessarily the act of laughing that makes you more attractive; it’s what your laughter says about you.
Having a joyful heart is infectious and can shine a bright light on you, and it can be terribly attractive to almost everyone.
When you laugh at yourself, you immediately become more likable and relatable to others.
It also shows that you have self-acceptance, which is key to self-confidence. After all, if you cannot accept your mistakes or imperfections, then you certainly will not be able to laugh about them.
The other reason laughter is good for the soul and possibly even finding your soulmate is that laughter makes other people feel good about themselves.
The power of laughter is that it relaxes everyone, and when you are the one with the apparent cheerful heart, you will stand out in any group of people and it will draw others to you.
And no, it is not because they feel better about themselves when they witness you falling flat on your face or freezing on stage.
When laughter triggers the brain to release endorphins, it makes both you and others feel good. Laughter cultivates a warm, fuzzy feeling to speak, forming a bond and promoting a sense of togetherness.
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Laughter Can Be Very Important In A Relationship
Couples that laugh are likely more effective at managing conflict because laughter can help reduce it when tensions are high.
It is much easier to solve problems, share a more positive outlook, and more easily agree with each other when stress levels are low, and emotions are more leveled.
In a way, laughter creates the space and sets the tone for conflict resolution, and this applies not only to romantic partners but to family, friends, and colleagues.
It is also not just disagreements that laughter helps us work through. Laughter also eases other painful feelings and resentments that may exist under the surface and go a long way in helping create an overall sense of well-being in your relationship.
In the sweetness of friendship let there be laughter,
and sharing of pleasures. For in the dew of
little things the heart finds its morning and is refreshed.
~ Khalil Gibran
Laughing Can Make You A More Positive Person.
The truth is that you will like yourself much more once you learn to accept yourself.
Those who can accept themselves for who they are, flaws and all, are typically more optimistic and able to laugh at themselves.
And when you are more optimistic, you are likely to be more successful in life because you have a mindset that prioritizes possibilities despite your shortcomings or setbacks.
One of the number one reasons why laughter is good for the soul is that it can promote a positive mood and mental health through hard times and embarrassing ones.
The more we cultivate and channel this positivity, the more positive people we become.
And if you are someone who tends to remain uptight in many situations, becoming more mindful of your lack of laughter can serve as a reminder to lighten up a little.
There is always room for more positivity and laughter, but you cannot always rely on others – sometimes, you must create the space for laughter yourself.
Laughter Has Many Benefits For Intimacy
Disclosure of personal information is a vital element of any strong social bond.
Think about how good it feels when you can share something personal with someone you trust or when someone trusts or depends on you enough to disclose theirs.
Research suggests that when you laugh, it can temporarily influence your willingness to disclose personal information and that disclosure intimacy is significantly higher after laughter.
Even though you may not be aware that laughter has anything to do with the reason you are spilling secrets, it does not take away from the fact that laughter can strengthen your relationship.
How To Laugh More
“Laugh my friend, for laughter ignites a fire within the pit of your belly and awakens your being.” — Stella & Blake.
When something is as good for the mind, body, and soul as laughter is, we naturally want to know how we can bring more laughter into our lives.
As mentioned, there may be times when you are driven to laugh even if you have no idea what is so funny, and that’s all the more reason to go find out.
If you hear or see people laughing and it doesn’t seem like an inside joke between an intimate group of people, one of the best things you can do is ask them, “what’s so funny?”
Chances are, they will love getting another chance to talk and laugh about it. Maybe you can make a new friend out of it.
Humor does not always have to come from others, however. Sometimes it will benefit you to find some humor yourself, rather than dwelling on a mistake or something embarrassing.
Seek Gratitude And Positivity
Practice being grateful for the positive aspects of your life. It is far easier to experience laughter more regularly when it’s from a place of joy rather than sadness.
Whether you read the bible or believe in God, practicing gratitude can lift your spirits. There is nothing better in life than having a spiritual connection to something greater than yourself; this can help you avoid deep disappointment or a crushed spirit.
As we’ve discussed, laughing has many health benefits, adding to your overall spiritual health.
Laughter and fun go hand in hand, and their positive aspects affect your entire life, from the social to the spiritual, each and every day.
These days laughing can even help with sticker shock when shopping for a new car or house.
Seek Humorous People
Your friends and the people you surround yourself with do not have to be comedians for you to find their laughter contagious.
The idea is to seek that positive energy – the positive people who can laugh at themselves and possibly encourage you to laugh at yourself!
Laughter is good medicine because it is something you share.
Laughter is not just good for the soul; it is the language of it.
Author, Katelyn Redfoot –
Katelyn is one of our favorite and talented writers. Katelyn is an independent writer based in North Carolina and holds a Public Relations degree from Appalachian State University. She is a lifelong learner and health and wellness advocate. Katelyn is also a wife, a mom, and a happy, resilient new puppy owner.
Claire Law is a UK-based Counsellor and Psychotherapist from Preston, Northern England. Claire became a therapist after a career of almost two decades of High School teaching experience. She’s also worked extensively in the Social Care and Charity Sectors, and as a Mental Health Advisor in Higher Education. Claire combines her current Psychotherapy practice with freelance writing on Mental Health, well-being, and Psychology topics. She has a passion for Social Justice and environmental causes.
Claire holds a degree from Nottingham University, a Post Graduate Certificate in Education from Leeds Trinity University College, and a Post Graduate Diploma in Integrative Psychotherapy from the University of Central Lancashire. She’s completed a wide range of extensive training and certifications in Domestic Abuse, Survivors of Sexual Abuse & Sexual Violence, Suicide and Self-Harm, Expressive Arts Therapy, Gender Variance, Online and Telephone Counselling and Polyvagal Regulation developed by Stephen Porges, a professor of psychiatry at the University of North Carolina and “Distinguished University Scientist” at Indiana University.
My Name is Marty Ward and I’m the creator and publisher of the 1-Vibrant-Life blog.
At the age of 26, in 1984, I was injured in a car accident in which I sustained a traumatic brain injury.
At the time of the accident, I was having a fairly successful life as a musician in Chicago, which included a recent appearance on Star Search 84′ with Ed McMahon and preparing to be included in a group major independent recording contract.
However, after my accident, I was unable to perform or play my instrument. I was out of work and I had lost all confidence in myself and my abilities, felt lost and with no direction.
My injury and my recovery led him down a path of self-improvement, and self-discovery which gave me my life back filled with many amazing experiences and a newfound sense of hope. Learn more about my story on the 1-vibrant-life about page.
CBTCP Certification (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Certified Practitioner) | 10-16-2021 Certification From The Academy of Modern Applied Psychology, in The Transformative Science of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, CBT