Did you know that laughing has tremendous health benefits and can support a healthy lifestyle? Aside from the traditional way we view laughing – to help us feel happy, comfortable, and relaxed – laughing can provide a more comprehensive array of benefits than we may have realized.
What happens in our bodies when we laugh? What actually is “a laugh”? According to HowStuffWorks and Encyclopedia Britannica laughter is the physiological response to humor, consisting of bodily gestures and the production of a sound, occurring simultaneously. The formal definition of laughter is “rhythmic, vocalized, expiratory, and involuntary actions”. Up to 15 facial muscles contract and your zygomatic major muscle is activated, causing your upper lip to move and causing you to smile!
Gelotology is the study of laughter and its effects on the body. The study of laughter and all of its positive attributes has gained global awareness, creating new ways for folks to enjoy laughing like Laughter Yoga and even Laughing Clubs.
Below we’ll talk about 5 reasons why laughing is the best medicine and can be the best addition to your day, not just because you get to laugh, but to improve your health, too!
1. Laughter decreases stress hormones to improve the immune system
By decreasing your stress hormones and increasing infection-fighting antibodies, your resistance to disease is increased when you laugh.
2. Laughing boosts endorphins
Endorphins, known as the “feel-good” chemical, are produced by your body to help relieve stress and pain, functioning similar opioids. When you laugh, endorphins are released helping you feel less pain stress while increasing your overall well-being.
3. Laughter exercises your abdominal muscles
One of the many reasons laughing can be beneficial is through its effect on your abdominal muscles. The act of laughing causes the muscles in your stomach to expand and contract. In fact, according to Friday magazine. ae, ten minutes of belly laughter equals 30 minutes on a rowing machine!
4. Laughing reduces blood pressure
While you’re laughing, your blood pressure can increase, but after you’re done laughing, the resting heart rate can be much lower than your original resting heart rate.
5. Laughing promotes circulation and respiration
Due to the nature of a laugh, or actively laughing, as we take a deep inhale and fill our lungs with oxygen. This brings more oxygen into the body and lungs, giving our respiratory system an extra boost. With increased oxygen in our body, increased circulation is promoted, as well.
There are so many reasons to laugh! Some have even started practicing intentional laughing, letting out a laugh on purpose. You can even join in a Laughter Yoga class, where practices include purposeful and voluntary laughing while incorporating normal yoga practice.
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