Humor and Laughter May Influence Health

Laughter is the best medicine. We have all heard that before, but how true is this saying?

How does humor and laughter affect our body and health?

Though the study of laughter is still fairly new and doctors are still unlocking the utterly complex function of our brain, medical researchers and scientists have discovered that laughter triggers the brain to secret chemicals such as endorphins that studies have shown to cause a "feel-good" effect in our system, stimulate healing, reduce pain and strengthen the immune system. This effects, in turn cause a number of benefits to our health.

Physical  benefits of laughter

Laughter has been found to have a lot of benefits to our health. Laughter provides muscle tension, provides release from some negative feelings such as fear, anger, stress and anxiety. It has been found that there are links connecting such negative feelings to heart disease. Studies say that the ability to laugh at stressful situations can lessen the harmful effects of distressing emotions. Humor and laughter have also been found to contribute to or lessen the effects of the following:

Low blood pressure – people who regularly have a hearty laugh have been found to have lower blood pressures than other people. And breathing becomes deeper which sends oxygen-rich blood and nutrients throughout the body.

Strengthens immune system – laughter decreases stress hormones in the body and has been found to increase antibodies in our system which help fight diseases and infections.

Improves brain functions – laughter has been known to stimulate both sides of the brain (studies show that when we laugh, several parts of our brain are actually ‘activated’) thus enhancing learning. And since laughter eases muscle tension and reduces mental stress, it keeps the brain alert thereby allowing it to absorb and retain more information.

Laughter gives our body a workout – laughter exercises the diaphragm, abdominal, respiratory, facial, leg, and back muscles. It also helps cause proper digestive functions by massaging abdominal organs and strengthening the muscles that hold them in place. Plus, laughter were also found to burn calories equivalent to several minutes on an exercise bike.

Emotional and Mental Benefits of laughter

Humor and laughter keeps us grounded and and clear-headed. When we are distressed. We tend to see only that huge problem before us. The ability to laugh when faced with a difficult situation can help give us a different perspective. Laughter lowers stress and thus we can think and see things clearly.

Laughter helps avoid loneliness by helping us draw people who are naturally drawn to cheerfulness. The effects of a good laugh, can remain long after the laughter has subsided. Humor changes behavior positively. Laughter and humor enable us to connect to other people by making eye contact, through touching, etc. Also, the ability to laugh at one’s self can be a testament to self-acceptance.

Social Benefits of Laughter

Humor and laughter binds us together, thus problems caused by seemingly imperfect things in our life become less smaller and easier to bear. Laughter when shared, is multiplied. Try sharing a good joke with a small group of people, and see how good each of you feel afterwards, and how closer to them you will seem to feel.

Laughter truly is the best medicine. Get a healthy dose of it daily.