Do you laugh often?
Or do you not laugh that often?
Or do you not laugh at all?
You need to seek an answer and why do you do that? What are its implications? How laughter enables you to maintain a cheerful spirit? How laughter helps you with good health?
Many years ago, when a park in my vicinity was under renovation, I went to another park for my morning walk. A saw a unique sight there…many ladies and gentlemen, assuming regular morning walkers, were standing in a circle and were laughing their hearts out. There was a rhythm and pattern in it. I was quite surprised that so many people can laugh by design by remaining in sync with other fellows whom they hardly know. On digging deeper, I came to know that laughter is not the way we know it. It is therapeutic. If you are suffering from any disease, laughing regularly can ease your pain and you will start feeling better. Even if you do not have any disease, laughter can raise your spirits.
“I think laughter is the best medicine. If you cannot laugh at yourself, then you can’t laugh at life and the silliness of it all.” – David Hasselhoff
Why do we term laughter as the best medicine?
Laughter enhances your intake of oxygen-rich air, stimulates your heart, lungs, and muscles, and increases the endorphins that are released by your brain. Activate and relieve your stress response.
Laughter decreases stress hormones and increases immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies, thus improving your disease resistance. 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.
Laughing increases the illness-fighting cells in your body, meaning you’re less likely to get sick or develop an infection. If you do become ill, your body is more equipped to respond. Decreases your risk of heart attacks. When you laugh, your heart rate increases, and you take many deep breaths.
One of the best benefits of laughter is that it acts as a strong medicine. It draws people together in ways that trigger healthy physical and emotional changes in the body. Laughter strengthens your immune system, boosts mood, diminishes pain, and protects you from the damaging effects of stress. Nothing works faster or more dependably to bring your mind and body back into balance than a good laugh.
Laughter has both short-term and long-term benefits
A good laugh has significant short-term effects. When you start to laugh, it doesn’t just lighten your load mentally, it induces physical changes in your body. Laughter can:
- Stimulates many organs: Laughter enhances your intake of oxygen-rich air, stimulates your heart, lungs, and muscles, and increases the endorphins released by your brain.
- Activates and relieves your stress response: A rollicking laugh fires up and then cools down your stress response, and it can increase and then decrease your heart rate and blood pressure. The result? A good, relaxed feeling.
- Soothes tension: Laughter can also stimulate circulation and aid muscle relaxation, both of which can help reduce some of the physical symptoms of stress.
- Improves your immune system: Negative thoughts manifest into chemical reactions that can affect your body by bringing more stress into your system and decreasing your immunity. By contrast, positive thoughts can release neuropeptides that help fight stress and potentially more-serious illnesses.
- Relieves pain: Laughter may ease pain by causing the body to produce its natural painkillers.
- Increases personal satisfaction: Laughter can also make it easier to cope with difficult situations. It also helps you connect with other people.
- Improves your mood: Many people experience depression, sometimes due to chronic illnesses. Laughter can help lessen your stress, depression, and anxiety and may make you feel happier. It can also improve your self-esteem.
Laughter is good for your health as it:
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.
Triggers the release of endorphins: These are the body’s natural feel-good chemicals. Endorphins promote an overall sense of well-being and can even temporarily relieve pain.
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.
Burns Calories: Though it’s no replacement for going to the gym, but one study found that laughing for 10 to 15 minutes a day can burn approximately 40 calories—which could be enough to lose three or four pounds over the course of a year.
Lightens anger’s heavy load: Nothing diffuses anger and conflict faster than a shared laugh. Looking at the funny side can put problems into perspective and enable you to move on from confrontations without holding onto bitterness or resentment.
Last, but not the least, it may even help you to live longer. A study in Norway found that people with a strong sense of humour outlived those who do not laugh as much.
So laugh out loud (LoL) and HappyHO