Six reasons why you should laugh more
When was the last time you laughed so hard that the next day it felt like you’d done some sit ups? In Psychology Today’s article “Happily Ever Laughter” (http://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/199607/happily-ever-laughter) a study shows that children at kindergarten age laugh 300 times a day compared to adults who only laugh 17 times a day. There is a lot of research these days to show that laughter really is the best cure for many different types of ailments including depression. Alike exercise, gratitude, healthy eating, a good night sleep, me time, meditation etc., laughing has an important purpose in our lives to keep our bodies balanced and running smoothly.
Smiling and laughing makes our brain releases dopamine, a neurotransmitter that produces feelings of happiness and compassion. But it also makes others feel good. It’s contagious, states Laughter University. The brain is so wired to respond positively to smiles and laughter that the brain can’t help it, even when we smile at ourselves in the mirror or mimic laughing, to respond in a positive manner. But there are other reasons research can show smiling and laughter can affect us in a positive way.
1) You live longer
Interestingly research published in the Archives of General Psychiatry published a study where over 65’s, who had an optimistic outlook on life, were more likely to live longer than their pessimistic peers who expected the worst to happen. Those who were expecting bad things to happen were more likely to die of any causes than the positive thinking counterparts. Make an effort and smile! It’s harder to get sucked down by the daily bad news when we have a laugh.
2) Boosts your immune system
The neuropharmacologist Candace Pert conducted a study that showed a close association of our immune system to our emotional worlds. When we harper negative thoughts they manifest themselves into chemical reactions that subject our body to more stress and thus reduce our immunity. The research found that positive thoughts and emotions boosted the neurochemical changes that reduced the impact of stress on our body and the immune system. Berk et al (12,13) reported that, when 52 healthy men watched a funny video for 30 minutes, they had significantly higher activity of natural killer (NK) cells, that help to contain viral infection, compared with men who watched an emotionally neutral documentary. Really fabulous!
3) Relieves pain
15 minutes of good laughing alleviates pain by 10% LiveScience.com claims. Not only does it distract you from our discomforts, it also releases endorphins into your brain causing a natural high that soothes and alleviates the pain, Healtland.time.com states. So put on a comedy show when your muscles are cramping or you are on your monthly cycle and feel the natural painkillers work.
4) Reduces depression
Not only does a happy mood boost our immune system it also enables us to be less stressed and tense, lessens anxiety levels and irritation. According to a study conducted by psychologists Herbert Lefcourt, of the University of Waterloo, and Rod Martin, Ph.D., at the University of Western Ontario those who were stressed with a good sense of humor became less depressed and anxious than those with a less well-developed sense of humor. When we relax and laugh our mind relaxes too. Researchers at West Chester University in Pennsylvania also found that students who used humor as a coping mechanism were more likely to be in a positive mood stopping them from sliding into the blues.
5) Improves your relationships
Having a laugh with friends and family is a way to bond and get through the tough times with humor. As laughing is contagious you will help other to relax and lift their mood too. You will be remembered as a positive influence. Research interestingly suggests that women laugh more than men. Luckily men love women who smile and laugh.
6) Lowers blood pressure and boost oxygen
The Laughter Foundation states that laughter has the ability to reduce the production of stress hormones. This not only happens when we laugh but continues for a time after. Laughter also works our muscles, which heightens our blood pressure and dilates blood vessels to enable more oxygen to circulate through our body, due to the deeper breathing that happens when we laugh. The 'heartier’ the laugh, the better. Laughing 15-20 minutes a day is good for heart health the Laughter Foundation says.
So get laughing and feel the wonderful benefits. Try out some of these tips to get you giggling:
Watch a funny DVD or show.
Go to a comedy club.
Share a joke.
Smile and see who responds.
Visit the humour section at your local book store.
Surround yourself with people who share your humour.
Go to laughter classes.
Connect through meetup.com with like-minded people.
Play a game.
Visit magic shops or toy shops.
Play and spend time with dogs.
And just smile at yourself in the mirror when you pass.
Have a good laugh!
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About Petra Tourunen
Petra Tourunen is a transformational coach - the Flow Styler. She specialises in empowering lawyer to find their career, passion & purpose back. Lawyers who are 'this close' to quitting their job & helps them to find & follow their flow, find back their direction, work/life balance & create a successful career around their potential & passion.