Stress is something that students know all too well. Especially for those pursuing graduate degrees, balancing classes, work, and your personal life can feel overwhelming. Although stress is a normal part of everyday life, minimizing the amount of stress we have on a daily basis helps keep a positive mood and a healthy mindset.
Laughter is a proven natural remedy for improving your mood, and can even strengthen your immune system and combat stress. Here are some research-backed ways laughter can help relieve your stress.
Physical Health Benefits
There are plenty of physical health benefits of laughter to reduce stress, including:
- Stimulates your organs. Laughing causes you to inhale more oxygen-rich air, helping stimulate your muscles, lungs, and heart.
- Relaxes your muscles. Stress can cause your body to tense up, and laughter helps relieve any physical tension in your body and helps your body relax for up to 45 minutes.
- Improves heart health. When you laugh, your heart rate increases. This increases the amount of oxygen in your blood and can help improve vascular function and decrease your risk of heart attacks.
- Boosts your immune system. Mental stress can manifest itself in physical ways, from decreasing your immune system to actually causing you to get sick. Laughing helps release infection-fighting antibodies and neuropeptides which help relieve stress.
- Reduces blood pressure. Laughing releases feel-good endorphins that counteract stress hormones, resulting in lowered blood pressure.
- Stimulates weight loss. Chronic stress often leads to weight gain. Laughing helps reduce the stress hormones that cause this, and can even burn extra calories.
Mental health benefits
Laughing helps with more than just physical health. Mentally, it provides feel-good endorphins that have a multitude of benefits.
- Provides a distraction. When you’re laughing, you can take a break from the stress of schoolwork and focus on the good time you are having.
- Improves your mood. A good laugh can help squash a bad mood and provides a sense of well-being that can diffuse built-up tension or anger.
- Reduces stress hormones. The primary stress hormone, cortisol, circulates through your body when you’re feeling stressed. Laughter helps decrease cortisol levels by increasing your oxygen intake.
- Increases endorphins. Laughter can increase the “feel-good” chemical, endorphins, in your brain. This helps your body fight off stress and promotes a positive mood.
- Strengthens your relationships. Sharing laughter with friends and family helps you feel more connected and in tune with one another.
Whether you are a stay at home mom, a Wall Street professional or a student getting a doctorate of nursing practice degree, it’s pretty clear that laughter has a multitude of benefits when it comes to reducing stress. If you’re looking for more ways to add laughter to your life, check out this infographic from USAHS.