Laughter Is the Best Medicine - Stress Relief Humor

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By Tess Thompson

Whether you are reading or listening to a joke or reliving a hilarious moment of a comic movie, your giggles and guffaws provide multiple physiological and psychological benefits. Stress relief is one of the most important among them. Laughing your way through a temporary or relatively permanent stress situation is a good option.

We all know that stress is unavoidable in modern day life. But you simply have to spend some time with a person with a good sense of humor to realize how easy it is to relieve tense nerves and become stress-free. Laughter is actually no laughing matter, and should be taken seriously when it comes to its capabilities of managing stress. Laughter helps in relieving mental stress and brings about physical changes in the body, too.

Laughter stimulates your heart, lungs and muscles. It increases the intake of oxygen and the release of analgesic neurochemicals like endorphins. A good laugh helps in decreasing the intensity of the stress response that is triggered off by the body and brings forth a relaxed feeling instantly. It also stimulates blood circulation and helps in eliminating some of the common stress symptoms like gastroduodenal problems by easing digestion.

Besides these short-term benefits, laughter has some very long-lasting affects on overall health. Negative thinking induces production of brain chemicals that lead to further stress. These chemicals also weaken the immune system. Laughter and positive thoughts release neuropeptides that help in combating stress and serious ailments, as well.

Stress symptoms include tension headaches, which most of us try to treat with the easily available over-the-counter painkillers. Laughter releases endorphins, the body’s own analgesics, which eases pain and helps in avoiding dependence upon synthetic painkillers.

Laughter also helps you to change the way you interpret a situation or an event. You can either view a stressful situation as a threat or a challenge. Humor gives you a lighthearted view of stressors that may initially appear as extremely threatening. The change in perspective actually helps in converting a threat into a challenge. At times, laughter can convert a perceived serious and stressful situation into a trivial one.

Laughter provides a physical and emotional release during tense moments and helps in overcoming worry by taking your mind off from them. Laughter is contagious - it not only relieves your stress levels but also helps others around you by aiding development of strong social bonds.


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