If Trouble hears Laughter when it comes knocking at your door, it will hurry away
Laughing in response to something funny seems so easy. However, it is actually a lot of hard work. When you laugh, you activate your brain’s areas that control emotional, motor, social and cognitive processing. Did you know that? No wonder researchers say laughter has the power to benefit both mental and physical well-being.
Laughter is a built-in coping mechanism that helps you take the situation and yourself less seriously. Most importantly, it is a natural antidote to stress and empowers you to solve problems. The feel-good sensation laughing triggers provide a natural high without the need for drugs.
Laughter in social situations
According to scientists, laughter is a tool we use to connect with others in social situations. Furthermore, the likelihood of laughing with others is 30 times higher than laughing while you are alone. Also interesting is that humor and jokes need not trigger a chuckle. We often laugh with others to show we like them, even without anything funny.
Laughter is contagious
Like yawning, laughter is contagious. Scientists suggest that we have a laugh-detecting brain circuit that responds to sounds of laughter. Once the detector’s trigger trips, we laugh in response.
Even babies respond to laughter
Watching parents and siblings laugh triggers responses in babies as young as three to four months. It starts with smiles, and subsequent tickling and laughing play essential roles in our bonds with babies.
How might laughing benefit your heart?
According to scientists, laughter benefits blood circulation. They say the brain releases endorphins, which triggers the release of nitric oxide. In turn, the arteries relax, making them wider and more flexible. If all this seems complicated, just know that a good chuckle helps your blood flow freely.
Get this! Laughing burns calories
Researchers say good and proper laughs raise heart rates as much as 10% to 20%. Essentially, you can burn up to 40 calories per day by spending 10 or 15 minutes laughing. I can’t imagine an easier way to lose weight, even if I can only get rid of four pounds per year.
Laughter is a good antidote for depression
I mentioned that laughter is an antidote for stress, and stress is often the reason for depression. Therefore, anything that lowers the release of the stress hormones epinephrine and cortisol could help with depression. Additionally, laughter raises serotonin, which is a chemical the brain releases to fight depression.
Use a good chuckle to ease pain
The same endorphins that benefit your heart can also ease pain. Older adults with chronic pain can benefit greatly by spending time with people who share jokes and funny experiences, stories, and comedies. Even one hour per week helped a group of seniors who participated in a study.