It’s no joke—laughter is a great way to reduce your stress levels.

While its true humor can’t solve everything, it can provide some relief when you’re feeling anxious, frustrated or stressed. Short-term benefits of laughter include relaxed muscles, increased oxygen intake to stimulate your heart and lungs, boosted endorphins and an overall relaxed feeling. The more you laugh over time, the better your immune system performs. You may even experience less pain, more personal satisfaction and a better mood.

Feel you could use a few more laughs in your life? Try these tips:

  • Before you can laugh, you have to learn to smile. It may seem fake a first, but it will soon lead to a genuine one, which paves the way for laughter. Even a smile that is forced provides the same benefits has a natural one, according to recent studies.
  • Surround yourself with humor. Save the memes, jokes, and comics that make you laugh and hang them up around your dorm room or apartment. Make a YouTube playlist of the bloopers, vines, try-not-to-laugh challenges and crazy animal videos that always make you laugh. Try a standup playlist on Pandora or Spotify. Keep funny movies or TV shows handy. Try a local comedy club.
  • Share the laughter. Spend time with people who make you laugh. They can help you find the humor in life. If you have a funny story or joke, share it with the people in your life.
  • Don’t be afraid to laugh at your own situations. Although forced in the beginning, the more you practice, the easier it will be. Try to see your current situation with a new point of view, known as reframing.

One caution is to never laugh at the expense of others. Use your best judgement to determine whether or not a joke is appropriate.

For more tips like this, visit a Husker Health Hub event on campus, hosted by the University Health Center peer educators. For upcoming dates and locations, visit our calendar of events page.