I’m naturally an anxious person. On any given day, I’ll have at least a million racing thoughts that basically circle back to “what if?”
But sometimes my anxiety really kicks into high gear. My thoughts race so quickly that I can’t focus on anything, my adrenaline kicks in, and I generally just shut down.
On those days, I’ve found that one thing helps bring me back to earth pretty quickly: humor.
Now, one joke or meme usually isn’t enough. In fact, I may stare at the computer screen, scrolling through images but not really understanding them for several minutes before something finally clicks. But when it does, that laughter is such a relief. Here are some ways it helps me reduce anxiety (and it may help you too).
1. Laughter makes you happy.
This is fairly obvious. If you’re laughing, you’re feeling (at least momentary) feelings of happiness. In fact, there’s an old piece of advice that suggests smiling or laughing (even when you’re not happy) can actually trigger feelings of happiness.
2. Laughter makes you forget your worries.
There’s a reason why Reddit and other meme-heavy sites have such huge followings: Humor helps you forget your worries, even if it’s only for a moment.
Have you ever been dealing with a really terrible situation (really terrible – like the death or sickness of a close friend or relative) and someone attempts to lighten the mood with a stupid joke? That’s because nine times out of ten, it works.
3. Laughter boosts your immune system.
No, seriously, it does. Just as chronic stress can wreak havoc on your immune system, consistent laughter can release all sorts of chemicals and junk (this is very scientific) that help boost your illness-fighting cells and stuff. Don’t believe me? Maybe you’ll believe this article from the Mayo Clinic.
4. Laughter helps your organs, too.
The Mayo Clinic also states that laughter helps stimulate your lungs, muscles, heart, brain, and helps you release feel-good endorphins (which, in turn, reduce anxiety!) There’s a reason why you feel so much better after a good belly laugh with friends. It’s scientific.
If you’d like to read more about the benefits of laughter, feel free to read that whole article by the Mayo Clinic. But I feel like my point is pretty clear: Laughter is good for you, and it’s especially good for relieving stress.
If you need a dose of humor right now, head over to my Instagram. I have a whole section of story highlights that is nothing but memes.