13 Health Benefits Of Laughter And Why You Should Laugh More
Have you ever wondered why children always bring positive vibes into your life? They laugh around 300 times per day, while you, only 17 and sometimes even less as adults. (1)
Smile and happiness are contagious and positive vibes spread easily. They easily make human bonds. We always like to be around people who make us laugh and cheer us up. And being happy and being healthy always go hand in hand. It is not a surprise the number of stand-up comedians and comedy shows is on the rise nowadays.
Laughter has been always connected to youth and beauty, but we are never too old for having a good laugh. It is even recommended for a better cope with everyday stressful activities and for keeping good health in old age.
It has been scientifically proved that depression has negative effects on your overall health. (2)
On the other hand, the health benefits of smiling and laughing are far-ranging and many studies have found that it can relieve stress, boost immunity and bring you even greater happiness.
Moreover, we change physiologically when we laugh and laughter triggers many emotional and physical changes in the body and there are many physical benefits of laughter. It is the fastest way of bringing your body back into balance, releasing all the anger and guilt and what is most important is a free, fun medicine straightforward to use every time you can.
Maybe it is not the best or magical medicine that can magically cure all the diseases, but it can help you with the following conditions:
Short Term Benefits
1. Body relaxation
When you laugh, all the body muscles relax and it stimulates the circulation. In fact, it stimulates many organs (heart, lungs and muscles), increases the endorphins(feel-good chemicals) that are released by your brain, and leads to an overall sense of well-being. It also alleviates the intake of oxygen and leads to better breathing. Your muscles are relaxed for 45 minutes after a good laugh.
2. It can decrease your heart rate and lower your blood pressure
When your oxygen level is released, it gets your heart pumping and you feel more energized. It is great cardio exercise, especially if you are not able to exercise or make a short stroll due to some illness or injury.
When you laugh, you burn calories which is very beneficial for your cardiovascular system. So, go for a nice laugh to keep your heart healthy.
3. It controls the stress hormone cortisol
Laughter is a very good way to control the stress hormone cortisol, which controls blood sugar levels, controls inflammation, and manages metabolism. At the same time, when you are under stress, the blood vessels constrict, elevating the production of the stress hormones and leading to high blood pressure. So, go for a good laugh and boost the production of mood-elevating hormones called β-endorphins and keep your body healthy, release all the accumulated tension immediately and suppress the stress hormones. (3)
Long term benefits
4. It relieves pain
When you laugh, it triggers the release of endorphins, hormones that increase pain tolerance. One study from the University of Oxford found that a good laugh may turn on the brain's endorphins, which has been a long-debated, but unproven idea. These hormones are also released when we feel loved, excited, or eat spicy foods among other things. (4)
5. It improves your memory and learning
Laughter eases muscle stress and psychological stress and keeps your brain alert, allowing people to retain more information. One study at John Hopkins University showed that humor could really produce physiological and psychological benefits that help students learn and retain more information during classes where teachers used more humor and make occasional jokes. (5)
6. It improves the social relations
The social benefits of laughter are known worldwide. When you feel anger and you have frequent mood swings in your own family, it usually disrupts the family relations and the overall family balance. This is often one of the main reasons for divorce and breakups. Laughter is known as the best immediate stress reliever and promotes positive energy at home. It is an excellent tool for bonding and connecting with family members and friends, and it is so easy to do it, and it is completely free.
Bring some more laughter into your life and increase the joy of people around you, as happiness is contagious and improves the quality of your life as a whole.
7. Improves your immune system
Laughter decreases the negative thoughts that very often weaken your immune system and keep all the allergies and infections at bay. Keep your organism in a stress-free zone and decrease the production of all the stress hormones. This will increase the production of immune cells and antibodies that fight diseases and improve your immune system.
8. Laughter is a great anti-depressant
The hectic modern life increases depression, anxiety, and sleeplessness, which sometimes may lead to suicidal tendencies. Laughter produces serotonin, a natural anti-depressant that makes you feel good and optimistic.
9. Improves your sleeping
If you watch some humor series just before going to bed, you have a good chance of getting good and nice sleep. A good laugh is all you need after a long stressful day at work and at home and you can do something funny or amusing before going to bed.
10. Laughter may help you with weight loss
When you laugh, you burn calories similar to slow or moderate walking. Research published in the International Journal of Obesity showed that if you laugh for 10 to 15 minutes a day, you will burn approximately 40 calories, and you will end up losing three to four pounds over the course of a year.
In addition, when depressed, many people eat more as depression triggers eating to suppress their negative emotions, a state called emotional eating. It has been noted that people tend to eat more (especially cakes and fat foods) before public speaking and laughter may be very helpful to cope with these situations and suppress food cravings. (6)
Nevertheless, the study showed ambiguous results and sometimes, people with a good sense of humor tend to be more obese than those who do not laugh very often. Additional research is needed in this field, but the studies have given promising results.
11. Laughter Is Good For Lungs And Respiratory System
When you laugh, your lungs get rid of all the stale air oxygen enters more freely because laughter can expand the alveoli in your lungs. When they are expanded the oxygen can enter more easily and your lungs are filled with more oxygen. At the same time, the oxygen distribution in the whole body is more easily exchanged, which leads to better blood flow and circulation. The hormones released during laughing, called peptides, are also released during yoga breathing techniques and are great for your respiratory system and pain management.
12. Laughter Can Help You Tone Your ABS
Besides being a great immunity booster, laughter is a great abs workout, and the muscles of your tummy contract and expand, which is a similar tummy working exercise.
One 2014 study evaluated the activation of the trunk muscles during a laughing yoga session. It was found that the internal oblique muscle was more activated during the laughing yoga than during the traditional exercises. This shows the positive effects of laughter on your muscles during a workout. (7)
What is Laughter Yoga?
If you want to know about the benefits of these prescribed laughing exercises that make create harmony between mind and body, you should do a small research about laughter yoga. During these yoga sessions, the forceful laughter often becomes real during the exercises, and we all know that laughter is contagious. These exercises make everyone laugh, even the most introverted and those who are shy or uncomfortable laughing in public.
Laughter Yoga was born in India and created by a doctor Dr. Madan Kataria, who investigated for years the relationship between laughter and mental and physical health. He was convinced that laughter is the key medicine for dealing with the stressed life we live today and created breathing techniques based on childlike plays since we all know that children know to laugh best and should teach adults how to laugh.
Laughter Yoga International now has around 400 clubs in the United States, and it is done in groups with eye contact and playfulness among participants.
13. Laughter Changes The Look On your face
Happiness and laughter may have a direct effect on your whole well-being and on the way you look. When you smile, you look more radiant, and usually, beautiful people have radiant eyes, smiles on their faces, and joyful spirits. There is even a laughter science called gelotology and it is scientifically proven to boost your immunity. (8)
In addition, a lot of stress may affect your skin, and the hormones released during laughing produce collagen, which is very important for the health of your skin. It beautifies the skin as the whole body muscles relax and tissues (including those on your cheeks and face).
When laughing, the skin receives an extra dose of oxygen, which has a rejuvenating effect. We all know that laughter is related to youth and beauty, so why do we not smile more often?
6 Ways To Laugh More
1. Laugh every day in different situations
Life can be sometimes funny, although challenging. So, try to have positive and funny thoughts every time you can. You can even start having forceful positive thoughts, so try practicing laughter and positivity. It will soon become your habit.
2. Share a laugh with friends or family
Spend more time with people who make you laugh and try to laugh at them too. It is30 times more likely to laugh in the company than being by yourself. So tell some funny stories and jokes and laugh more and more. Smiling is contagious!
3. Watch stand-up comedy live, on television, or on YouTube
Watch more comedians and retell their jokes. Enjoy watching some stand-ups and television comedy show with friends and family.
4. Look for jokes in books or online
You can always try to search for jokes online or some particular comedian online. You can even go to a library and find some laughing material to make your day.
5. Know what isn't funny
Be careful when you laugh, you might end up laughing at someone, and do not ever laugh at someone else expense. It can harm someone's feelings.
6. Challenge yourself to laugh more
You will feel more relaxed, less tense and you will spend much more quality time with your family and friends.
- The health benefits of smiling and laughing are far-ranging and many studies have found that it can relieve stress, boost immunity and bring you even greater happiness.
- Happiness and laughter may have a direct effect on your whole well-being and on the way you look. When you smile, you look more radiant, and usually, beautiful people have radiant eyes, smiles on their faces, and joyful spirits.
- Life can be sometimes funny, although challenging. So, try to have positive and funny thoughts every time you can. You can even start having forceful positive thoughts, so try practicing laughter and positivity. It will soon become your habit and you will live a quality life full of happiness and you will make others happy.