I’m sure you’ve heard the old adage, “Laughter is the best medicine,” but it’s actually truer than you might think! Laughter is literally healing. Just like energy medicine, laughter has benefits for your physical, emotional, and mental health. And more than any other medicine, it’s fun!
There is a reason you feel so good after laughing. There is no surer way to lift you out of a bad mood or brighten a glum day than a good belly laugh, especially if you’re doing that laughing with others. Laughter has been shown to create camaraderie in people, forging bonds and emotional connections, which can improve relationships of all kinds. Laughter can diffuse tension, heal resentments, and just generally makes you feel happier. If you are keeping up your daily practice of meditation, you know that the effects last for hours afterward, and the health benefits of laughter are just as far-reaching and long-lasting, so why not make it a part of your spiritual routine?
Have You Laughed Today?
There are documented physical health benefits to laughter. A deep hearty laugh relaxes your muscles and relieves tension immediately, and the effects last for almost an hour! Laughter also improves your blood flow, which can help prevent heart attacks, it boosts your immune system, and it releases feel-good endorphins, which can temporarily reduce pain. Clowns in children’s hospitals and TVs tuned to comedies in patient rooms are no mistake—they can help the healing process, and you can use laughter to help heal you, too, before it gets to the point of hospitalization. Laughter, like energy healing, is both curative and preventative.
The list of the emotional benefits of laughter is just as long. First, a laugh forces you to release negativity. You can’t feel depressed or mad or anxious while you’re really laughing, and since it helps to reduce stress, laughter allows you to relax and recharge. Laughter can even help you directly deal with stressful situations. If you can laugh at it, and at yourself, you can give yourself the necessary distance and perspective to keep you from getting overwhelmed. With more laughter comes a generally more humorous outlook on life, which can help carry you through tough emotions and obstacles with grace and positivity.
As if all that wasn’t enough, laughter heals on another level as well. You know from studying energy medicine that negative emotions are as detrimental to your health as smoking or a sedentary lifestyle. Those negative feelings can become lodged in your chakras, field, and body, creating all kinds of problems from allergies to anxiety. All the energy healing techniques I teach in my healing courses and workshops are designed to help you release negativity and clear, charge, and balance your chakras so your energy can flow freely and keep you healthy. Laughter may not be an official energy medicine technique, but it essentially works the same way journaling does—helping to release negative emotions before they have a chance to get stuck and cause any damage.
Who Doesn’t Like to Laugh?
You probably don’t avoid laughter, but do you seek it out? That is my first tip: don’t wait for laughs to come to you—go out and find them! Incorporate laughter into your day and you’ll be amazed at how much happier and healthier you’ll feel. Here are four ways to do just that.
1. Watch something funny.
Movies, TV shows, Jon Stewart, SNL, even YouTube videos of goats or cats—whatever makes you chuckle is worth watching! Some of my more serious students scoff when I encourage them to go see the latest comedy or head to a club to see a standup comedian, but now that you know how healing laughter can be, I hope you’ll make the effort! Even a two minute clip from the internet during a break from a bad day at work can make you smile and lighten your mood.
2. Hang out with people who make you laugh.
Your friends don’t need to be Jerry Seinfeld to make you laugh. Sometimes just getting together with friends and telling stories, playing games, or watching something funny as a group is enough to send you into a fit of giggles or an all-out laugh attack. Laughter truly is contagious, so being around people you think are funny will multiply the laughter all around, boosting the health of everyone.
3. Spend time with children or pets.
Kids and pets are not worried about embarrassing themselves, which makes them super fun to be around! Animals are so happy to be played with that they are guaranteed to infect you with some of that happiness and at least get you to crack a smile. Especially when they make a cute face. Children do all kinds of silly things that will make you laugh as well, and they “say the darndest things.” Being around the freedom kids and animals embody will allow you to be more spontaneous and laugh more easily not just around them, but in other situations as well.
4. Go out and play.
Both pets and kids are also likely to get you into the spirit of play, which usually leads to laughter. Run with your dog, chase her or play Frisbee or fetch, or get a string and play with your cat. Think about what you liked to do as a kid and let your inner child have some fun. Go out and jump rope, skip, hop, roll down a hill, do cartwheels, or put on some roller skates. Dance around in your pajamas singing into a hairbrush. Whatever will make you have fun and laugh your head off.
Laughter requires a little bit of letting go, so go for it! Don’t feel self-conscious if you want to let out a loud guffaw—remember that you’re healing yourself with each laugh you let loose, as well as inspiring healing laughter in someone else!