Laughing Can Improve Mental Health

Berkeley Psychologist, Mindfulness

Mental Health Is Not A CommodityThe tale of the laugh is one of the oldest stories we tell as a people. This simple show of joy can quickly penetrate through the most diverse and challenging language barriers and easily communicate our thoughts and feelings.

However, the benefits of laughter travel far beyond showing joy and happiness, as it also has several therapeutic benefits that play a crucial role in our overall mental health.

When we laugh, our body releases powerful endorphins that help relieve us from pain and stress. This chemical release can also cause a euphoric feeling that jump-starts our mood and keeps it at a consistently high level.

With this in mind, it can be easy to say that laughter is one of the first mental health remedies humans would have discovered.

Once you sit down with friends or watch a fantastic comedy and end up laughing a lot, you may quickly notice how much better you feel. In a way, laughter helps turn us away from all our future worries and fears and allows us to enjoy the present moment.

This intricate link between the act of laughing and our overall mental health is one of the core reasons therapists like Dr. Lynn Winsten believe that chuckling and cackling just a little more is one of the keys to improving our mental health.

Throughout this post, we will highlight some of the benefits of laughing more and Dr. Lynn Winsten’s top tips for making laughter a significant part of your life.

What are the Benefits of Laughing More?
It Helps to Put a Pause on our Anxiety and Stress

Consistent anxiety is one of the most significant mental health issues people face today. This anxiousness can stop us from achieving our goals and reaching new heights. Fortunately, laughter is one of the best ways to tackle this issue.

The more you guffaw at a rollicking comedy or giggle with your funniest friends, the more your stress response cools down. This collapse of our anxiety and stress levels may also cause our blood pressure and heart rate to reduce, resulting in a calm and relaxed feeling that boosts our focus and helps us achieve our goals.

It Can Help Soothe any Tension in our Bodies

Laughter is one of the best ways to provide instant relief from tension. The movements we make in our faces and our bodies as we laugh aid in stimulating circulation and relaxing our muscles.

This soothing feeling can be synonymous with a short massage or yoga session, as a quick laugh will help you destress and make you feel spry and spirited.

One of the top tips Berkeley therapist Dr. Lynn Winsten always suggests that can help you see the benefits of laughter is to study your body and mood before and after a quick cackle. Next time you catch yourself laughing, try taking in how your body reacts to this mood change.

You should quickly notice any tension you were feeling beforehand fade into the background, giving way to a relaxed and calming feeling.

It Helps Improve Self-Esteem

The benefits of laughter are not a one-way street. Helping others find joy and happiness, even if only for a brief moment, can have a tremendous impact on our self-esteem. When we crack jokes to our friends or families, and they return it with a smile or a huge laugh, it can make us feel better about ourselves.

Additionally, as laughter can also help people struggling with anxiety and depression, the impact of putting a smile on their faces cannot be overstated.

Dr. Lynn Winsten’s Top Tips for Introducing Laughter Into Your Life

It is not enough to understand the benefits of laughter. If you know that chuckling or giggling a bit more is good for you but still find yourself unable to laugh, then you will not be able to achieve these benefits. Fortunately, it is always possible to introduce laughter into your life by transforming your daily routine to meet joy where it is.

Seek More Humor

Although you may believe that laughter has to occur naturally, this could not be further from the case. One of the core beliefs that Berkelely therapist Dr. Lynn Winsten has is that you should never wait for the laughter to come to you.

Instead, you should take the necessary steps to seek out more humor and bring all the joy and cackling straight onto your doorstep.

Fortunately, laughter is always bubbling around our world, and finding it should not be challenging. You can ask a friend to share a funny story or event that they noticed recently.

This personal connection with a comedy saga can help you find your hidden chuckle. On the other hand, you can always discover your laugh in traditional forms such as comedy skits, witty podcasts, and even a funny novel.

Start With a Smile

If laughter is a long sprint down a track, a smile is putting on your shoes and tying your laces. Smiling introduces various positive, feel-good feelings while preparing us for a nice laugh. If you’re taking a walk and remember something fun from your past, or a comedy skit that you watched recently, don’t hesitate to smile at it.

You are also welcome to take things further by beaming at the people you meet as you go through life. This person could be the cashier bagging your groceries or a stranger down the street. Remember, smiles and laughter are a universal language capable of breaking through any communication barriers.

Take Note of the Things That Make You Laugh

Finding the things that bring you joy can often be a long and complicated process as you start. You may watch a comedy skit that others find tremendously funny and not even break a smile, or read a comic strip and wonder how it made it to print.

However, as you experiment with the various things meant to make you laugh, you will likely find some things that truly connect with your humor.

Once you figure out what works for you, don’t hesitate to take note of it. This way, when you begin to get anxious or tense and believe you need a quick remedy, you can always turn back to what made you laugh.

You may choose to note down these experiences in a journal or scrapbook or have them chucked away in the bookmarks bar of your browser.

Begin Laughing More Today

While you may find it challenging to begin laughing, finding ways to introduce more laughter into your life will always be a solid boost for your mental health. Once you start experiencing the short and long-term benefits of the odd giggle, you will quickly see the need to spend more of your days cackling and howling.

Additionally, as laughing is tremendously contagious and breaks through the structures and barriers of language, you should find it easier to connect with friends, family, and even strangers.

However, most therapists, such as Dr. Lynn Winsten, also understand that discovering your laugh can be easier said than done. If you have worked through these tips and are still finding it challenging to laugh, you may require additional help.

Fortunately, Dr. Lynn Winsten is here for you. She is a clinically-trained psychologist with over 30 years of experience helping individuals regain control of their lives.

To learn more about how she can help you discover your life and get back in the driving seat, please leave a message or drop by her Berkeley practice.

Additional Reading

Mental Health Is Not A Commodity

What is clinical depression?

The Trouble With Narcissism