When you watch a comedy show, hear a joke or enjoy recounting a funny story with friends and family, you’re doing good things for your health. The sound of roaring laughter can make anyone feel happy. In fact, of all the different types of human behaviors, laughter seems to be the most innate and unique in nature.
Laughter is defined as the physiological response of the brain to humor and it consists of two parts: a set of gestures and the production of sound.
Basically, laughing is a celebration of the good things in life and people laugh to express some of that feeling. Laughter not only gives you a good feeling, but also to those around you.
Laughter is a great medicine. It provides physical, psychological, emotional and social benefits, and distracts you from negative thinking.
Here are the top 10 health benefits of laughing.
1. Provides an Internal Workout
Laughing is a simple process, yet it is considered the best internal workout technique. When you have a good belly laugh, it exercises the diaphragm, abdomen, respiratory system and even the shoulders. This is why your muscles are more relaxed and calm after a good laugh.
Plus, during heavy laughter, people take deep breaths that help unclog airways and enhance inhalation and oxygen intake.
Now, along with your physical exercise, spend some time laughing with your friends for a complete internal workout.
2. Reduces Stress
Laughter is a great form of stress relief. It causes a decrease in the levels of stress hormones like cortisol and epinephrine. At the same time, laughter increases the level of health-enhancing hormones.
Plus, laughter provides a full-scale workout for your muscles and stimulates blood circulation. This in turn helps reduce some of the physical symptoms of stress.
The next time you are stressed, just watch some comedy shows and soon you will start feeling better.
3. Improves Sleep Quality
If you are having difficulty enjoying sound sleep at night, laughter is one of the best medicines that you can try. Laughing causes the body to produce more melatonin, the hormone released by the brain that helps you sleep better.
Some scientific research in the field of sleep and insomnia has found that laughter helps improve sleep patterns, which is helpful in treating insomnia.
During the evening, have a good laugh with your family members or friends. It will help reduce stress and anxiety, and promote deep, restful sleep.
4. Fights Depression
Laughter can help people suffering from either seasonal affective disorder (SAD) or full-blown depression. A study published in the journal Geriatrics Gerontology International found that laughter therapy can reduce depression in elderly people.
Laughter reduces the levels of stress-related hormones and replaces them with feel-good hormones. This means laughter creates a positive state of mind and when a person has a positive attitude toward life, there is less chance to succumb to feelings of depression and hopelessness.
If you are stressed, worn out or depressed, the most effective strategy you can employ is laughter. You can join a comedy club for the best results.
5. Boosts the Immune System
If you have a weak immune system, you can improve it with a regular dose of laughter. Several studies have proven that laughter can improve the immune system by increasing the number of anti-infection antibodies as well as T-cells in the blood.
A stronger immune system equates to better resistance to disease and illness, so there will be less chance to get coughs, colds and other infections.
So, it’s time to start your day with a healthy dose of laughter to remain healthy.
6. Relieves Pain
Laughter works as a natural painkiller. This has been proven by a study from Oxford University published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society. People who laugh a lot can withstand nearly 10 percent more pain compared to those who do not laugh much.
A good dose of laughter releases feel-good endorphins into your system that work better than morphine to reduce pain. Also, laughter can distract you from thoughts of your aches and pains. Laughter has also been found to break the pain-spasm cycle common to some muscle disorders.
When suffering from any kind of physical pain, include a dose of humor as part of your treatment.
7. Controls Diabetes
Laughter can also help keep diabetes under control. According to a study done by the University of Tsukuba in Japan, laughter can lower blood sugar levels after a meal among people with Type 2 diabetes.
While the exact cause is not yet known, it is believed that laughter has a direct impact on the neuroendocrine system, which monitors the body’s glucose levels. It also may be due to the energy used by the stomach muscles while laughing.
Plus, laughter may help diabetics avoid microvascular-related complications.
If you have Type 2 diabetes, make sure to watch a humor show for at least 30 minutes daily.
8. Protects the Heart
Basically, the heart is a muscle and it gets stronger and functions better with exercise. This is one reason laughing is considered a healthy workout for your heart.
When you laugh, the tissue that composes the lining of the blood vessels expands, leading to increased vascular blood flow. This plays an important role in fighting against atherosclerosis and reducing the risk of a heart attack.
Plus, the relaxing effect of laughter helps lower the baseline blood pressure level.
Just 15 minutes of laughter a day can keep your heart healthy and prevent cardiovascular problems.
9. Keeps You Young
A daily dose of laughter can make you look younger. When you smile and laugh, as many as 15 facial muscles work together. This increases the blood flow around the face, making you look younger and healthier.
Plus, a good belly laugh improves physical as well as emotional health. When you are healthy, you will surely look younger than your age.
So, instead of looking for products to help you look younger, start looking for reasons to laugh more. But make sure to keep your skin healthy and moisturized to prevent laugh lines.
10. Makes You Energetic
Laughter can also energize your mind and body. When you laugh, air gets forced out of the lungs, which causes you to take deep inward breaths. This increases the flow of oxygen around the body’s muscles and organs, resulting in more energy.
Increased energy also means improved alertness, creativity and memory.
To keep your energy level intact, you must do regular physical exercise and include laughter in your daily routine.
Along with these health benefits, laughter can also improve your social life and keep your relationships running smoothly. Plus, as laughter is free and the best medicine, you can enjoy it as much as you want.