It’s no secret that laughing is fun. It feels good, and it makes you feel happy. Sure, sometimes it makes your stomach and cheeks hurt, but in the best possible way. And believe it or not, there are medical reasons why laughter therapy is such an important part of your life. Laughing can help boost your immune system so you’re more equipped to fight off illness, it can help protect your heart, improve blood circulation and keep you in shape. Laughter really is the best medicine. And it also happens to be the most fun way to focus on your health. If you laugh with your family, you’re not only doing something good for your own well being, you’re also bonding with your loved ones.
And good news: you’re far more likely to laugh when you’re with your loved ones. As Time reports, Dr. Robert Provine, a neuroscientist at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County and author of Curious Behavior: Yawning, Laughing, Hiccupping, and Beyond, explain that “you’re 30 times more likely to laugh around other people than when you are by yourself.” Beyond that, it’s no surprise that there are several health benefits to companionship and spending time with loved ones, “so the social component of laughter may play a big part in its healthful attributes,” Provine adds. So what are you waiting for? Grab your family, get a little silly, and let the giggle fits begin. Here are 7 laughter health benefits and reasons to laugh with your family today (and every day).
1. It helps you reminisce about past memories
Sometimes the things that make you laugh the most happened 20 years ago, and yet they can still evoke such a strong emotional response of pure joy. We all know that it can be easy to get caught up in the now, to the point where you never get to enjoy memories of the past. But it’s also really important that you (and your kids) take some time to forget about your homework or your chores and instead to bond over jokes from previous family gatherings and to remember reminisce about past memories that make you happy. You’ll bond as a family while also jointly appreciating all the laughter you’ve already enjoyed together.
2. It helps create new memories
At the same time, letting loose and laughing as a family can help create new memories that you’ll always cherish. Whether you’re laughing at a situation, over something your toddler said, or over something you saw on TV, you will always remember those moments that you laughed so hard you almost peed in your pants.
3. It eases stress
Life can get stressful. And while we can’t eliminate all the sources of stress in your life, laughter can certainly help ease those feelings of anxiety and replace them with feelings of joy and happiness. In fact, research supports that “laughter and humor trigger the brain’s emotional and reward centers, releasing dopamine, which helps the brain to process emotional responses and enhances the experience of pleasure; serotonin, which lifts moods; and endorphins which regulates pain and stress and induces euphoria.”
4. It reminds you that you like each other
It can be easy to take your family for granted and forget that you actually like spending time together. Laughter therapy is the best way to reconnect as a family unit and remember that you not only have to love each other, you also really really like each other.
5. It lifts your spirits
Laughing boosts your mood. Just like a hug from a loved one, laughing and smiling can instantly make you feel better no matter how bad a day you are having. And since we all have bad days, it’s important to find ways to give your loved ones a boost when they need it most. The cure-all for a frustrating day will always be a fun night with loved ones, laughing over nonsense and forgetting all about your bad day.
6. It shows your kids that your family can have fun
Kids learn by example and their top role models will always be their family. If you want your kids to learn how to have fun and not take life to seriously, you need to not only show them how to do it, but also enjoy some good old fashioned giggling with them.
7. It increases positivity and helps you cope with difficult situations
Life can be hard, and undoubtedly at some point in your life you and your family will need to cope with a tough situation of loss, hardship, frustration and sadness. You’ll need each other if you want to get through that situation feeling hopeful for a better future. And you’ll also need to be able to laugh. Laughter will remind you of all the good parts of your life and will help lift you up, so that you don’t focus on the negative experiences that can bring you down.