Laughter makes you feel good. They say ‘laughter is the best medicine’. Wouldn’t it be great if laughter could heal you from all your problems. I bet, the minute you saw the baby picture you had to smile or laugh, right. We’ve all heard that joke we laughed at so hard you felt like you were going to pee your pants, fall on the floor and your stomach was killing you. Those are definitely the best ones. Sometimes it has to do with the delivery or the person delivering it. Laughter in general is so great for your body, the gains are numerous.
There is interest about laughter being an effective health and wellbeing approach to good health. Wouldn’t it be great if we could laugh all our problems away.
Here are some of the benefits in the never-ending exploration into laughter.
Laughter can help you with:
- Boosting your immune system. Laughing helps to improves the body’s natural defences by increasing the amount of antibodies and T cell’s (immune system cells).
- Helps to reduce the risk of heart disease – opens blood vessels so blood can flow easier. Laughing has such a positive effect that lasts for up to 45 minutes after the laughter has stopped.
- Decreases stress. Laughing instantly reduces the levels of stress hormones such as cortisol, epinephrine (adrenaline) and dopamine, and increases the production of serotonin and endorphins which reduce effects of stress.
- Is effective as an anti-depressant somewhat. Laughter boosts the production of serotonin, a natural anti-depressant. Laughter also works as an effective distraction from things that cause anxiety and anger. It’s difficult to be unhappy if you’re laughing.
- Helps blood pressure. When you laugh, the blood flow increases, circulation improves and your blood pressure rises. When you stop laughing, your blood pressure drops back to ‘normal’.
- Acts as a natural painkiller. There are a number of studies which validate the pain relieving effects of laughter. Who knew!
- Belly laughing effectively ‘massages’ the abdominal organs. The blood flow to these organs is increased and their functioning is improved.
- Help keep diabetes under control. A recent study showed that people who watched a funny video after meal had lower blood sugar levels than those who watched a serious film. It could be that laughter affects the neuroendocrine system, which monitors the body´s glucose levels, or it may be the effect of energy used by the stomach muscles.
- Look younger, absolutely! As many as 15 facial muscles work together to help you smile and laugh. This increases the blood flow around the face helping to make you look younger and healthier.
- The mind and body are refreshed. Laughing forces air out of lungs, and causes us to take deep inward breaths, increasing the flow of oxygen right around the body.
- Reduces anxiety. The ability to laugh or smile, especially when times get tough, is the best way to reduce stress and anxiety. While some stress actually helps to motivate us into action and to focus on a problem, laughter helps us to concentrate more efficiently on the solution.
- Want to have a better nights sleep? Having a good laugh before bed, helps to produce more melatonin (the ‘sleep’ hormone) so you get a deeper more restful sleep.
- Laughter is somewhat of a workout. Not only are you using your facial muscles, your upper and lower abdominal muscles are used as well which in turn, gives you a small workout.
- We connect to others better. The empathy hormone, oxytocin is released helping us to be closer to one another. A little laughter is great for building strong connections, whether in the community or at work.
- It’s contagious. You ever notice when one person is laughing you have to laugh too? Laughing will lift you up and the people around you. Happier people live long, healthy, productive lives.
Only 10 – 15 minutes of laughter a day can greatly improve your mood. Call a friend who cracks you up, read a funny book and let’s not forget about the memes, they always make you laugh.