Is there anything better than a contagious giggle that you absolutely can’t control? (Ok, maybe not so good in school or church.) Laughter works wonderfully well in the moment, but it also has some surprising long-term health benefits.
It can bring people together and establish amazing connections. Everything from a slight giggle to a side-splitting guffaw can change the temperature of a room from chilly unfamiliarity to a warm family-like atmosphere.
Laughter is clinically proven to have a powerful and positive effect on physical, emotional and social health and wellbeing. It heals and renews the human body and mind, and nothing works faster or more dependably to bring the mind and body back into balance.
What can laughter do?
Laughing lowers blood pressure.
People who lower their blood pressure, even those who start at normal levels, will reduce their risk of strokes and heart attacks. So grab the Sunday paper, flip to the funny pages and enjoy your laughter medicine.
Laughing instantly reduces the levels of stress hormones such as cortisol, epinephrine (adrenaline) and dopamine, and increases the production of serotonin and endorphins which reduce effects of stress.
Blood sugar levels.
One study of 19 people with diabetes looked at the effects of laughter on blood sugar levels. After eating, the group attended a tedious lecture. On the next day, the group ate the same meal and then watched a comedy. After the comedy, the group had lower blood sugar levels than they did after the lecture.
Is a natural painkiller.
There are a number of studies which validate the pain relieving effects of laughter. Studies show that watching comedy films assists both children and adults to tolerate pain more easily.
One of the benefits of laughter is that it can help you tone your abs. When you are laughing, the muscles in your stomach expand and contract, similar to when you intentionally exercise your abs. Meanwhile, the muscles you are not using to laugh are getting an opportunity to relax. Add laughter to your ab routine and make getting a toned tummy more enjoyable.
Boosts T cells.
T cells are specialized immune system cells just waiting in your body for activation. When you laugh, you activate T cells that immediately begin to help you fight off sickness. Next time you feel a cold coming on, add chuckling to your illness prevention plan.
Make you look younger.
As many as 15 facial muscles work together to help you smile and laugh. This increases the blood flow around the face, bringing the circulation into even the smallest of capillaries which, in turn, helps to make you look younger and healthier.
Help keep diabetes under control.
A recent study showed that people who watched a funny video after meal had lower blood sugar levels than those who watched a serious film. It could be that laughter affects the neuroendocrine system, which monitors the body´s glucose levels, or it may be the effect of energy used by the stomach muscles.
Produces a general sense of well-being.
Laughter can increase your overall sense of well-being. Doctors have found that people who have a positive outlook on life tend to fight diseases better than people who tend to be more negative. So smile, laugh and live longer!
Laughing not only lifts our spirits but also the spirit of those around us. Happy people lift the spirit of those around them. Remember, a smile or laugh shared is a smile or laugh doubled.
Humor works quickly. Less than a half-second after exposure to something funny, and electrical wave moves through the higher brain functions of the cerebral cortex. The left hemisphere analyzes the words and structures of the joke; the right hemisphere “gets” the joke; the visual sensory area of the occipital lobe creates images; the limbic (emotional) system makes you happier; and the motor sections make you smile or laugh.