Wednesday July 31, 2019
Isn’t it fun to share a good laugh? But did you know laughter is actually beneficial for you? It’s true! Laughter can drastically improve your health.
What is laughter
Is laughter an emotion, action, or reaction? According to the University of Kentucky, laughter is defined as an outward expression of amusement. This makes laughter different than humor, which is the action that induces laughter.
Did you know? The limbic system (helps control instinct and mood) and the hypothalamus (helps control sleep and emotion) are involved in laughter.
Why is laughter beneficial
Physical health benefits of laughter:
- Boosts immune system- Laughter can increase interferon-gamma levels in the body. This promotes the release of B-cells, T-cells, and immunoglobulin. These cells help regulate normal cell growth and fight off sickness.
- Lowers stress hormones- During laughter, the body produces endorphins (aka happiness hormone), dopamine, and serotonin. These are neurotransmitters that are in charge of motivation and mood. Ways to brighten your mood here!
Did you know? The effects of endorphins in the body have been compared to morphine and codeine, except without any danger of overdose or dependence.
- Decreases pain- When laughing, the level of pain does not decrease, but the perception of pain levels do. This enables an individual with the ability to cope with pain more effectively when laughing compared to not laughing.
Did you know? Laughter can relieve physical tension, leaving your muscles relaxed for up to 45 minutes.
- Improved heart health- Laughter is believed to boost levels of nitric oxide. Nitric oxide is known as a vasodilator, naturally lowering both blood pressure, reducing the chances of an individual suffering from a heart attack or stroke. Click here for more nitric oxide health benefits
- Improved resilience- Resilience is the ability to see failure as natural progression to success rather than a negative experience. Laughing at one's mistakes aides individuals to recognize that mistakes are a part of being human. People who are resilient are happier and more successful.
- Strengthening social bonds- When 2 individuals are laughing together, they will feel emotionally connected. This is because both individuals leave the experience feeling more positive about the other person than before. Laughter is a great tool if one is going on a first date or trying to make friends with a newly hired coworker. Want to bond? Take our free noni farm tour!
- Improves memory- Catecholamine, a hormone that aids in crucial brain functions, such as movement, cognition, emotions, learning and memory, is released during laughter. By developing the ability to find humor in what an individual reads and hears, they’ll be more likely to retain the information.
How to laugh
Laughter can occur in several ways. According to the Therapeutics Benefits of Laughter in Mental Health, there are distinct categories of laughter.
Included in this list are:
- Spontaneous laughter- Spur of the moment/unexpected. Created by some sort of humor or positive experience.
- Induced laughter- Created by external substances such as alcohol or laughing gas.
- Simulated laughter- Self-induced or planned/nothing to do with spontaneity or humor.
Did you know? Simulated laughter can be just as beneficial as spontaneous laughter. A Georgia State University study found that incorporating simulated laughter into an exercise program helped improve older adults’ mental health and aerobic endurance.
Opportunities to laugh:
- Watch a funny movie or T.V. show
- Visit a comedy club. Comedians love an audience.
- Host a game night with friends/family
- Make time for fun activities (ex snorkeling, painting, karaoke, gardening)
- Laugh at oneself. The ability to laugh at oneself makes them more attractive to others and can help relieve stress and increase resilience.
- View photos and videos of you and your family/friends having fun.
- Avoid negative people/dwelling on negative things that happened throughout the day. Many things in life are beyond an individual's control.
- Play with children, puppy, or a kitten- they are the experts on playing and laughing at ordinary things.