Laugh your way to good health!
8th July, 2017
Laughter is contagious
If you laugh, people laugh with you, even if they don’t always know what you’re laughing about. It connects us to those around us, and can even be used to ease interpersonal tension. Crack a joke during your next heated argument and see the tension melt away.
Laughter and exercise may share more in common than you think. Most notably, both can boost your health. Sure you know about the infinite benefits of an active lifestyle, but did you know that laughter can support the immune system, blood pressure, stimulate the organs and reduce pain?
Laughter is also readily available, free, has no side effects, and you don’t have to worry about overdosing. Moreover, it’s good for everyone around you. Laughter can relieve stress, boost your immune system and even change your perspective on life.
When you are feeling stressed Laughter affects your blood pressure and pulse rate and helps your muscles to relax. It counteracts your body’s stress response by balancing the stress hormones cortisol, epinephrine and adrenaline. In addition, it releases “happy chemicals” in your brain, leaving you with a sense of well-being or even euphoria.
Laughter helps increase immunity
Laughter increases the number of antibody-producing cells and enhances the effectiveness of killer T-cells. This means a stronger immune system, as well as fewer physical effects that may be caused by stress.
When you’re in pain, laughter increases the production of natural painkillers, thereby improving your tolerance to pain.
As a muscle relaxant, laughter exercises the diaphragm, contracts the abdominal muscles and even works the shoulders, leaving muscles more relaxed afterwards. It even provides a good workout for the heart. According to the late Dr Laurence Peter, author of The Peter Principle, the bigger the laugh, the lower the tension and the more long-lasting the relief.
Laughter changes your perspective on life, humour gives us an entirely different perspective on our problems. By viewing a problem a little more light-heartedly, it becomes a challenge instead of a threat, and your body won’t react with a stressful response. This gives us a sense of mastery and control over our environment, which helps us cope with adversity.
Use laughter as a distraction
Laughter diverts our attention away from our negative feelings like guilt, anger, stress and being miserable.
So I say, fix your funny bone and teach yourself how to see the comedy in bad brain chemistry, the humour in mood disorders, and the satire in dysfunctional situations, because sometimes the only thing we can change is our perspective. Ha ha ha!