A hearty chuckle feels great and research shows that there are many benefits of laughter too. The idea that laughter is really good medicine is so innate that it has been documented since biblical times.
‘‘A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.’’ – Proverb 17:22
Laughter enhances holistic wellbeing. Here are 5 reasons why a good laugh should tickle your fancy.
Reduces stress and anxiety
Many people experience stress on the daily. When you stress out, your body’s ‘stress response’ becomes activated and prepares you for fight or flight. Being in this state can be helpful at times, for example it can help you to deal with an emergency or perform well under pressure.
At other times, ‘the stress response’ isn’t actually useful, like when you’re stuck in traffic or worried about the future. An effective way to activate your body’s ‘relaxation response’ is through breathing exercises, where your exhalation is longer than your inhalation. This sends a signal to your brain that everything is okay and calms your body’s systems. Laughing is a fun and easy way to exhale for longer and it communicates to your brain that things are actually pretty good!
Laughter releases ‘feel good’ hormones, including endorphins, serotonin and dopamine, into your bloodstream, making you feel uplifted and more positive.
Studies have shown that laughter naturally increases pain tolerance. Laughter produces endorphins, which are your body’s natural pain killers. It can also help to take your mind off any pain you may be experiencing.
Improves breathing and performance
A good laugh flushes your lungs, as it helps to expel residual air that sits around in the bottom of your lungs, if you’re in a habit of shallow breathing. It oxygenates the cells of your brain and body, increasing energy levels and promoting better health. This is important for peak performance.
Strengthens your immune system
Laughter stimulates your diaphragm, which boosts your lymphatic system – an important part of your immune system. It increases the rate at which toxins are removed from your body and immune cells are produced, to protect your body from illness.
A good giggle will give you some benefit. To achieve more of the benefits of laughter, you need to laugh for at least 10-15 minutes, from your diaphragm. An easy way to achieve this is through a laughter-based exercise system, such as laughter yoga or laughter wellness. Laughter yoga was created to enable you to laugh for health and happiness, in a safe space where hearty belly laughter is socially accepted and encouraged!
Even a simple smile has benefits. It can uplift you. It makes breathing easier – try it and see. It can also create warm fuzzies between lovers and even strangers. So consider this:
Wishing you happy days filled with laughter!
By Connie Costa
Connie is a Laughter Yoga Teacher and Trainer, Laughter Wellness Teacher and the Founder of Laugh and Live Well. She teaches regular laughter yoga classes at Work-Shop Sydney. In her classes, Connie creates a safe space, where you can let go and harness the healing power of laughter, for enhanced health and happiness.
Find Connie on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/laughandlivewellsydney
Check out http://www.work-shop.com.au/events/grid for upcoming classes.