Laughter…

Laughter

The Benefits of Laughter

Aside from the obvious benefits of laughing – it makes you feel good, more relaxed and somehow more likely to enjoy your day, there are more scientific and medical reasons to laugh.

  • Laughter relaxes the whole body. A good, hearty laugh relieves physical tension and stress, leaving your muscles relaxed for up to 45 minutes after.
  • Laughter boosts the immune system. Laughter decreases stress hormones and increases immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies, thus improving your resistance to disease.
  • Laughter triggers the release of endorphins, the body’s natural feel-good chemicals. Endorphins promote an overall sense of well-being and can even temporarily relieve pain.
  • Laughter protects the heart. Laughter improves the function of blood vessels and increases blood flow, which can help protect you against a heart attack and other cardiovascular problems.

Source: http://www.helpguide.org

  • Laughter dissolves distressing emotions. You can’t feel anxious, angry, or sad when you’re laughing.
  • Laughter helps you relax and recharge. It reduces stress and increases energy, enabling you to stay focused and accomplish more.
  • Humor shifts perspective, allowing you to see situations in a more realistic, less threatening light. A humorous perspective creates psychological distance, which can help you avoid feeling overwhelmed.

Whilst there are people who laugh for a living (not a bad job really, despite the fear of not being taken seriously) it would seem there’s some merit to this. The ‘Laughter Yoga’ from India was set up by Madan Kataria who believes you don’t even really need a sense of humour to benefit from laughing. In short, laughter releases chemicals into your body, endorphins, or the ‘feel good’ drug. The body then follows what the brain says, and our mood is elevated. Health and well-being is improved, as is our outlook on life. At the very least, during these times of laughter, we aren’t thinking about our troubles. The brain is indeed a powerful thing.

Are we 300 or 20?

So, how many times a day do we laugh? Not nearly enough would be the answer for most people. Children laugh on average 300 – 400 times a day, whereas grownups it a rather sad 20 times, or so the studies indicate. Assuming these studies are quite accurate, which they would be, it proves there’s a gaping chasm devoid of laughter between the stages of toddlerhood and adulthood.

Whether it’s by watching a funny movie, reading a funny book or catching up with friends (include ‘the funny one’ in the group), break open the laugh tank and enjoy yourself. It lowers our blood pressure, increases circulation, and relaxes us, among other things. A true belly laugh even gives the abs a workout. The basic message would have to be: we need to laugh more!

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One of the beauties of children is they live in the moment without thinking about next week, or any other issues; which is exactly how they should be of course. As we teach children about life, learning and responsibility, they can teach us about how to cope with life in a much better way. Laugh.

Today, for the sake of your health, have a laugh. It’s good for you. 🙂

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Sources:

Wikipedia, http://www.helpguide.org, pictures found on Pinterest