We’ve all heard that ‘Laughter is the best medicine’. Well, there are many proven benefits from laughing, chuckling or giggling. Laughing can reduce stress, lower your blood pressure as well as boost your immune system.
The human reaction of laughing is not full understood. Researchers are currently running tests on the effects of laughter. Scientists are actually starting to put people into functional MRI machines and make them laugh in order to find out. In a recent study at Stanford, researchers showed humorous materials to people while their brains were monitored by an MRI. They were able to prove for the first time that laughter (or at least humor) stimulates the parts of our brain that use the “feel good” chemical messenger dopamine. That puts laughter in the category of activities you want to do over and over again, such as eating chocolate or having sex. Dopamine systems that get out of whack can lead to addiction, says Emory University neurologist Gregory Berns. This finding explains why kids want to keep playing silly games until parents can’t stand it anymore. Laughter is pleasurable, perhaps even “addictive,” to the brain.
Laughter is good for your health
- Laughter relaxes the whole body. A good, hearty laugh relieves physical tension and stress, leaving your muscles relaxed for up to 45 minutes after.
- Laughter boosts the immune system. Laughter decreases stress hormones and increases immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies, thus improving your resistance to disease.
- Laughter triggers the release of endorphins, the body’s natural feel-good chemicals. Endorphins promote an overall sense of well-being and can even temporarily relieve pain.
- Laughter protects the heart. Laughter improves the function of blood vessels and increases blood flow, which can help protect you against a heart attack and other cardiovascular problems.
The Benefits of Laughter
|Physical Health Benefits:
- Boosts immunity
- Lowers stress hormones
- Decreases pain
- Relaxes your muscles
- Prevents heart disease
|Mental Health Benefits:
- Adds joy and zest to life
- Eases anxiety and fear
- Relieves stress
- Improves mood
- Enhances resilience
- Strengthens relationships
- Attracts others to us
- Enhances teamwork
- Helps defuse conflict
- Promotes group bonding
Creating opportunities to laugh
- Watch a funny movie or TV show.
- Go to a comedy club.
- Read the funny pages.
- Seek out funny people.
- Share a good joke or a funny story.
- Check out your bookstore’s humor section.
- Host game night with friends.
- Play with a pet.
- Go to a “laughter yoga” class.
- Goof around with children.
- Do something silly.
- Make time for fun activities (e.g. bowling, miniature golfing, karaoke).
What are your favorities funny movies, jokes, books or people? Whatever it may be, get out there and laugh and maybe you’ll make someone else laugh too.
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