15 Reasons to Keep On Laughing
When it comes to boosting health, few consider laughter an exercise. Yet, when you think about how winded you feel after a good laugh, with watery eyes, shortness of breath, beating heart and pain in your side, it’s not such a far-fetched notion. Furthermore, laughing actually does wonders for your health. Ever heard of the expression, “the more you laugh, the longer you live”?
It’s not funny! Clearly, this is not a joke either! So just how does it help our health?
Decreasing stress: This is almost a given. After all, it’s hard to worry about something when you are doubled over with mirth and your eyes are tearing up because of that happy whooping laugh. Levels of cortisol and epinephrine, hormones with supress the effect of your immune system, decrease while laughing. This means that the more you laugh, the fewer infections can enter your system and naturally destroy cancer cells.
Increasing ability to cope: Life has a strange way of piling the most unpleasant moments on us all at once, something that can weigh heavy on a person. Laughing helps cope with every obstacle, lowering stress levels as well as increasing confidence in our coping abilities.
Fighting cancer and disease: Research has concluded that cancer patients who laugh a lot have lower pain levels and higher immunological responses. It is actually called laughter or humour therapy, promoted by the Cancer Treatment Centers of America.
Increasing blood flow and reducing blood pressure: Laughter is understood to better blood circulation and increase oxygen levels making their way around your body. What’s happening in your body as you laugh is that the tissue lining of your blood vessels, called endothelium, is dilating, which allows more blood to flow through. As such, this allows for the prevention of atherosclerosis. On average, watching a funny movie will increase blood flow by 22% while it decreases by 35% if it’s one which causes stress.
Providing a burst of exercise: Laughing 100 times apparently equals about 15 minutes spent on a stationary bicycle! So get laughing and toning up your muscles, while losing that weight. After all, you can spend hours laughing in your own basement, versus running off to a gym without really wanting to. You can laugh no matter where you are, what you’re doing or how you’re feeling. One would assume it’s the best way to exercise! Maybe check out your local laughter yoga institute? No joke, it actually exists.
Positively affecting blood sugar levels: Research has revealed that laughter eliminates blood sugar spikes in diabetics after meals, though the exact cause for this is yet unknown. However, type 2 diabetics do see a reduction in plasma renin, which points towards avoidance of microvascular complications.
Managing pain: Laughing out loud if you cut your hand or run into a wall might not be what you consider medication, but the release of endorphins you get provides the perfect rush. So throw your head back and laugh hysterically, distracting yourself from the excruciating pain you are experiencing. Don’t look so surprised! If you see someone fall, crack a joke, make a funny face and become and utter fool. You will be helping much more than standing around and fretting about it.
Increasing social skills: There’s an expression which states that if you laugh, the world will laugh with you. This is true on a very real level, meaning that the more you laugh, the more you attract positive attitude around you, the better friends you’ll have and the happier your circle will be. According to avid researchers, a person is 30 times more likely to laugh when surrounded by others than while sitting home, all alone. It helps relieve tensions in a group and establish rapport with those around you.
Increasing Learning and Retention: Both side of the brain stimulated means better stimulation and this is exactly what laughter provides.
Reducing Aggression: Lower rates of aggression appear in a classroom when laughter is involved, reducing disruptions and improving a teacher’s will to teach. And it’s not only in a classroom! A single joke can dissolve a tense situation and make everyone just a little more comfortable to be in each other’s presence, no matter their history.
Relaxing muscles: This is one of the most important things to ensure when giving shots. There are enough people walking around with phobias of needles keeping them out of doctors’ offices. A great physician will tell a joke or two, get you laughing and ensure you feel not even a pinprick when the needle enters your skin. Who wouldn't want clown doctors at their bedside, right? Unless, of course, there’s a clown phobia as well.
Energizing lungs: Once you start laughing, you will eventually start coughing and hiccuping, meaning that you are loosening mucus and opening airways. Keep it up!
Aiding digestion: According to research already mentioned, digestion also reaps the benefits of laughter, helping ease symptoms related to irritable bowel syndrome or diverticulosis.
Boosting immune systems: Laughter has been shown to increase levels of salivary immunoglobulin A, which is important in fighting off bacteria and infections that would dare invade your respiratory system. Lymphocytes in the bone marrow are also positively affected by laughter, fighting off infections and viruses with B and T cells respectively.
Relaxing and sleep: Research has found that 10 minutes of laughter could equate over 2 hours of calm and stress-free sleep, especially for those suffering from painful ailments.
Therefore, laugh it up, friends. The more you laugh, the longer you’ll live. Just don’t expect it to be forever. We are not, after all, of the godly immortals.