5 Psychological Benefits of Laughing

In these stressful times, people can take themselves too seriously. There is often little time for anything besides work, but it’s important to make time for laughter in your life. Laughter is important for all types of partnerships, from business to personal. It’s the key to building relationships of all kinds, and it provides important health benefits as well.

Tina B. Tessina, PhD, psychotherapist and author of How to Be Happy Partners: Working it Out Together has provided some great reasons why we need to infuse laughter into our lives. “The benefits of laughter are numerous and the existence of frequent, warm laughter in your relationship indicates that all is going well, and gives you both confidence that problems can be overcome,” she explains.  

Whether you’re dealing with your partner, coworkers or friends, laughter is indeed the best medicine. Here are five great reasons to make room for laughter in your daily life.  

It can diffuse tension

Try a light-hearted approach during times of conflict. “If something frustrating is happening, try easing the tension with a bit of humor to change stress to silliness,” Tessina suggests. While she does not recommend poking fun at the other person, she does suggest that humor lightens the mood and lets your romantic or business partner know that, though the situation is tough, you’re in it together. “Your partner will think of you as someone soothing and helpful to have around when problems happen,” she says. “A lighthearted approach to serious matters often is the most productive one.”

It’s good for the heart

The benefits aren’t just emotional, but physical as well. There’s a direct correlation between the ability to laugh and healthy stress levels. But you don’t need to be a professional comedian to enjoy laughter every day. “Talk about the cute thing your child said, or that funny thing your pet did,” Tessina suggests. “Even talking about the funny scene in the latest hit movie will lower your blood pressure, calm your pulse and generally help you release a lot of stress.” An added plus? The endorphins released during a good belly laugh are good for the heart as well as the soul.

It helps your self-esteem

When you can laugh at yourself, it does a lot for your confidence. “The paradox seems to be that having permission for child-like play also gives permission to be responsible and self-accepting,” Tessina explains. She advises that when it’s coming from a good place, and you avoid nasty jokes or cruel remarks, laughter can help you build a self-awareness that will empower and liberate you.

It helps heal

Physically and mentally, laughter helps heal the body. “Experts on healing now say that humor, hope and happiness are an important part of any healing process,” Tessina explains. In fact, various treatment centers are experimenting with laughter therapy as an important part of the patient healing process because it is beneficial to replace stress with laughter.

Day-to-day, it can be easy to get bogged down by the news, work or illnesses that you’re dealing with, and most people also take daily stress out on their romantic or work partners. “Struggle can become addictive,” she says. “When you replace the drama of struggle with the delight of humor you can create a positive addiction, and a powerful solution for what to do with your time with others.”

It strengthens your bond with your partner

Whether it’s your partner in boxing class, the person you’re paired with for a project in school or the person you’re planning on spending the rest of your life with, there’s nothing the two of you can’t achieve if you learn to bond over laughter. “Instead of treasuring old grudges and hurts, learn to treasure old jokes and funny lines,” Tessina suggests. “Shared laughter can evoke an overwhelming feeling of warmth and caring for each other.” Sharing laughter also puts you in sync emotionally with others, making it easier for you to feel more connected, productive and empowered.

Lisa Bensley is the founder of BeautyByBenz, a health and beauty blog that is really just an excuse to buy too much makeup. When she is not writing, she's probably boxing, obsessing over her Dachshund, Stanley, reading, or binge-watching Law & Order: SVU. Follow her (and Stanley's) antics on Instagram.