We’ve all heard that laughter is the best medicine, but is it?
When it comes to self managed health and wellbeing laughter is difficult to beat.
Laughter is our most basic emotional responses, but we aren’t taught to laugh or even to smile; they’re as natural to us as breathing.
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.
Happily there is growing interest in laughter as a simple and effective health and wellbeing strategy, although it’s still a much underutilized health and wellbeing resource.
These are the latest discoveries in the ever growing list of the benefits of laughter.
Laughter is clinically proven to:
- Boost the immune system. Laughing improves the body’s natural defense mechanism by increasing the amount of immunoglobulin’s and T cell’s in the body.
- Reduce the risk of heart disease. Laughing expands the inner walls of the arteries which increases the ability of blood to flow around the body, and, this positive effect lasts for up to 45 minutes after the laughter has stopped.
- Decrease stress. 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.
- Can assist as a mild anti-depressant. Laughter boosts the production of serotonin, a natural anti-depressant. Laughter also works as an effective distraction from things that cause anxiety and anger.
- Reduce blood pressure. When you laugh, the blood flow increases, circulation improves and your blood pressure rises. When you stop laughing, your blood pressure drops back to its baseline. This relaxing effect helps to lower your baseline blood pressure.
- 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.
- Massage the abdominal organs. Belly laughing effectively ‘massages’ the abdominal organs. The blood flow to these organs is increased and their functioning is improved.
- 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.
- 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.
- Re-energize the mind and body. Laughing forces air out of lungs, and causes us to take deep inward breaths, increasing the flow of oxygen right around the body.
- Build resilience. The ability to laugh, or at least smile, when times get tough, is the best way to reduce stress and anxiety. While a little stress actually helps to motivate us into action and to focus on the problem, laughter helps us to focus on the solution and achieve more productive outcomes.
- Aid with sleep. Having a good laugh prior to sleep reduces stress and anxiety, promoting deep, restful sleep. Laughter also provides a mild aerobic workout, which, not only energizes you in the short term, but also helps you to sleep better.
- Bond us to others. Laughter causes the release of oxytocin. Often called the empathy hormone, oxytocin helps bond individuals and groups together. A little laughter is great for building great teams, be they in the community or at work.
- Is contagious. 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.
At Let’s Laugh we provide simple, effective, real life based programs developed in line with the latest research into the benefits of laughter and humour.
See our laughter program pages to discover how we can help you to have more laughter in your life.
Call us on 0421 335 197 or email us at email@example.com to discuss your health and well-being needs.