For some it’s a daily habit, for others it’s a field of research. There’s a whole science behind laughter, which studies in depth the effects a good giggle has on our mind and body. The conclusion? A good laugh on a regular basis really is good for our health. Apparently, it even makes us more attractive!
Need some more reasons to start laughing? Here are 12 for you:
1. It reduces stress. In today’s society stress seems to be everywhere, affecting almost everyone. While it’s true that adult life brings with it a number of responsibilities, that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t unwind and have a good laugh from time to time. In fact that’s exactly why we need to! Laughing lowers the levels of cortisol in our bloodstream, commonly known as the stress hormone. Less cortisol = less stress.
2. It’s good for the heart. When it comes to keeping our hearts healthy, apart from all the usual recommendations (diet, exercise, etc.) it’s also important to add a touch of humour to your life. Did you know that when we laugh our blood vessels dilate? As they open wider, blood flows much more easily through our veins transporting much need oxygen around the body, and our blood pressure lowers. This all means that our heart doesn’t have to work so hard.
3. We become less aggressive. Very often the best way to help a tense situation is with a dash of humour. We’ve all experienced one of those deathly silent moments following an unpleasant or unwanted comment, and it’s during these moments that negative emotions such as anger and aggression can arise. A funny remark that manages to produce a laugh can calm the atmosphere and clear the air, preventing the situation from escalating.
4. It strengthens the immune system. You may be surprised to learn that when we have a good giggle, we increase our antibodies, which help our body fight infection and disease. The more antibodies we have, the more likely we are to avoid colds and the less likely we are to get sick. Experts confirm that laughing improves our overall quality of life and helps to cure illness. So the saying “laugher is the best medicine” really is true!
5. It makes us more sociable. Laughter can also help us when it comes to our personal relationships – not only with people we already know and feel comfortable with, but with strangers and those we hardly know, too. When we share funny moments with people we’re more likely to open up and talk more about our personal lives afterwards. Something else worth bearing in mind – according to studies, it’s 30 times easier to laugh when we have company, so arrange a get-together with friends and laughter is pretty much guaranteed.
6. Difficult situations are made easier. Even if we only laugh for a few short seconds, during that time our minds forget all about pain and worry. This can help us find the strength to face up to difficult situations and problems. Laughing alleviates feelings such as fear and rage, meaning we can face painful or complicated moments with more optimism. The best bit? It can even make us more effective at finding quicker, more effective solutions to whatever problem we may have.
7. Happy hormones are released. Some experts believe that laughter has the power to heal. Why? Well, because when we laugh, aside from a feeling of freedom, we encourage our bodies to release hormones that increase our overall happiness. Dopamine improves our mood, adrenaline makes us more alert and receptive, and serotonin is a calming, pain-relieving endorphin.
8. We breathe better. Do you realise that every time we breathe in and out we expand our lungs and stretch and relax our muscles? It’s no wonder that there’s a new yoga discipline that’s been developed focused on laughter. It bases itself on the fact that laughing for a period of time can help to regulate breathing and bring oxygen to the lungs.
9. It’s great for the kids. Just as with adults, it’s of enormous benefit for children to find themselves in a happy atmosphere surrounded by laughter. In fact, according to psychologists, in promoting their sense of humour, you’re increasing their mental, emotional and cognitive development. Dig out that clown costume and get them laughing!
10. It aids digestion. Have you ever laughed so much that your face muscles literally ached? It’s worth the pain, of course, and those aren’t the only muscles you work! Your abdomen also gets a workout, contracting as you laugh. Due to the large number of muscles in the abdominal area, laughter increases the production of gastric juices, which also helps the digestive process.
11. It’s a natural pain reliever. Another effect of the endorphins we release when we laugh is to reduce the sensation of pain. As natural opiates, their ability to relieve pain is often greater than that of the medicines we buy at the pharmacy, according to some experts. Other activities that increase the level of endorphins include singing, painting or eating chocolate. Just think how many endorphins we could release if we combined these with laughing…
12. It combats insomnia. Many of us have experienced the annoying situation of going to bed after a stressful day only to find it almost impossible to sleep, as your mind plays certain events over and over. To combat this, there’s nothing better than watching something funny on TV or getting together with friends for a good chat and a laugh or two. Studies have shown that our cerebral cortex releases electrical impulses that block the passage of negative thoughts one second after we start laughing. In other words, the longer you laugh for, the happier you’ll be.
Now you have more than enough motives to meet up with friends or family and enjoy a laugh over a drink or two in BB Restaurant. After all, it’s for the good of your health!