Who doesn't enjoy a good laugh?
There's a reason why we're drawn to it. Yes it feels good. But there's more to it than that. A good laugh is incredibly good for you. The physiological effects on your body from a belly laugh is a natural high and something we've all experienced (possibly not often enough) but what's actually happening to us when our bodies are literally hijacked by laughter?
Laughing enhances cardiovascular function. It has beneficial effects on the immune system, and moderates stress hormones. It could simply be considered a work-out for your innards.
Apart from the contraction and relaxing of numerous muscles in the stomach ribs, chest,and 15 facial muscles, laughing can have many long-term beneficial effects. Your heart rate and pulse becomes elevated, and your breathing becomes irregular, disrupting your normal respiratory pattern and boosting blood oxygen levels.
Many people experience depression when their levels of dopamine and serotonin are reduced. Laughter can help by increasing levels of dopamine so that feel -good endorphins are secreted in the brain; the result - your mood improves.
Some psychologists refer to this as laughter therapy and actively encourage it to patients to reduce feelings of depression or anxiety. In essence it's a form of cognitive-behavioral therapy without the need for medication. Plus it's non-invasive.
In other words the scientific evidence to support the fact that laughter really does help is impossible to ignore. So get out there (or stay indoors) but whatever you do, get laughing.
Klaus White is a Trainer, Educator, proud Dad,
& co-founder of The Way of the Tortoise