The Benefits of Laughter
One of the intrinsic features of human nature is the ability to laugh. Benefits of laughter are far reaching and have a massive effect on both our physical health and our emotional health.
Laughing is one of the best way to relieve stress and possibly the fastest … not to mention the cheapest. It is very powerful, very affordable (read no cost) and works extremely quickly.
As a stress reliever, laughter provides an instant physical and emotional release. It reduces the levels of stress hormones in our body, including cortisol, epinephrine, dopamine and growth hormone.
It also heightens the level of health promoting hormones including neurotransmitters and floods the body with “feel good” endorphins. Laughing also increases the number of anti-body producing cells and enhances the effectiveness of our T cells. Laughing strengthens our immune system and just makes us feel good.
“The human race has only one really effective weapon and that is laughter.” Mark Twain
Belly Laughter is a Pain Killer:
Norman Cousins was an American political journalist, author, professor, and world peace advocate. Cousins also served as Adjunct Professor of Medical Humanities for the School of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles, where he did research on the biochemistry of human emotions, which he long believed were the key to human beings’ success in fighting illness.
It was a belief he maintained even as he battled heart disease, which he fought both by taking massive doses of Vitamin C and, according to him, by training himself to laugh.
He wrote a collection of best-selling non-fiction books on illness and healing, as well as a 1980 autobiographical memoir, Human Options: An Autobiographical Notebook. Late in life Cousins was diagnosed with a form of arthritis. His struggle with this illness is detailed in the book and movie Anatomy of an Illness.
Told that he had little chance of surviving, Cousins developed a recovery program incorporating megadoses of Vitamin C, along with a positive attitude, love, faith, hope, and laughter induced by Marx Brothers films.
“I made the joyous discovery that ten minutes of genuine belly laughter had an anesthetic effect and would give me at least two hours of pain-free sleep,” he reported. “When the pain-killing effect of the laughter wore off, we would switch on the motion picture projector again and not infrequently, it would lead to another pain-free interval.” read more at Wikipedia.
The Benefits of Laughter Research
Robert Provine, Ph.D. is a neuroscientist who is accepted as being the world’s leading scientific expert on laughter. He observed thousands of incidents of laughter spontaneously occurring in everyday life, and reports his findings in his witty book Laughter A Scientific Investigation.
Drawing upon ten years of research into this most common-yet complex and often puzzling-human phenomenon, Dr. Provine investigates aspects of laughter including its evolution, its role in social relationships, its contagiousness, its neural mechanisms and the health benefits of laughter.
Laughter can establish, or restore a positive emotional climate and also a sense of connection between two people, who literally take pleasure in the company of each other.
For if there’s one thing Dr. Provine found it’s that speakers laugh even more than their listeners. Of course levity can defuse anger and anxiety, and in so doing it can pave the path to intimacy.
Most of what makes people laugh is not thigh-slapper stuff but conversational comments. Dr. Provine says “Laughter is not primarily about humor,but about social relationships.”
He found that the much vaunted health benefits of laughter are probably coincidental, a consequence of it’s much more important primary goal of bringing people together. In fact, the health benefits of laughter may result from the social support it stimulates.
Interesting Benefits of Laughter
- Laughter plays a big role in mating because men like women who laugh heartily in their presence
- Both sexes laugh a lot, but females laugh 126% more than males. Whereas men are more laugh-getters
- The laughter of a female is the critical index of a healthy relationship
- Laughter in relationships declines dramatically as people age
- Laughter is highly contagious. We humans usually find the laughter of other people to be irresistible
If you would like a really good hoot right now, I have chosen a few videos to share here that tend to really tickle people’s funny bone. Why don’t you take some time out for yourself, and have a watch of one or two of them right now? And remember that laughter really is a best way to relieve stress.
Here is the video page: Laughter The Best Medicine. Get a cup of tea and settle in!