Laughter is a natural response to stimuli that our individual personalities find funny, whether in the form of images, sounds, physical sensations, or memories. The health benefits of laughter include the reduction of stress hormones and blood pressure, as well as increased blood flow and oxygenation to the cells and organs. Laughing provides a natural workout for a number of muscle groups, can defend against illness, and even increase the response of beneficial tumor and disease-killing cells throughout the body. Laughter has also been shown to increase memory, intelligence, and creativity.
# Stress Buster
Laughter has been shown to reduce the levels of certain stress hormones in the body. Although some of these chemicals are necessary in the body in certain situations, high levels without useful application can cause an imbalance in homeostasis and can have a behavioral impact. These are called immunosuppressant hormones, and can have a harmful effect on the immune system.
# Strong Immunity
Laughter can even go so far as to help you stay healthy. It has been widely studied that laughter can stimulate antibody cells to develop at faster rates by changing the body’s chemistry through hormonal shifts. This increase in antibodies means that the body is able to fight off illness and infection easier. T-Cells are a type of white blood cells known as lymphocytes. Studies have shown that the efficiency of T-cells is actually increased in a subject who regularly laughs and adds those hormonal advantages to their overall system.
side from the internal benefits of laughter, it can also be a natural way to exercise various muscle groups in your body. When you engage in laughter, whether it is a giggle or a guffaw, muscles are used to create that movement. The old adage that it “takes more muscles to frown than to smile” is somewhat true, unless you are laughing while smiling. Laughter engages the body’s diaphragm and abdominal muscle systems during that repetitive expanding and contracting that often happens when laughing for an extended period of time. This is why our sides or stomach hurt slightly after long bouts of laughter.
# Blood Pressure
For anyone with high blood pressure, try to laugh more and watch your blood pressure decrease. Studies have shown that “mirthful laughter” causes an initial increase in arterial blood pressure due to the physical activity of laughing, but that rise is followed by a decrease to below the normal resting blood pressure. This is further proof that laughter does indeed improve circulation and can reduce blood pressure, which is one of the major causes of heart disease and cardiac issues for many people.
# Mood Booster
Studies have shown that the simple act of laughing or smiling can improve the mood and happiness levels in subjects versus other activities. Laughter has been found to have an analgesic quality that reduces even unconscious pain, causing an improvement in mood. Even forced laughter, without a normally humorous stimulus, works to improve mood. Therefore, even if you don’t have anything funny to laugh about, it will probably put you in a better mood just to participate in the physical act of laughter. Your brain does not actually register whether the stimulus is genuine or not, since people often find unusual things funny, or laughing at inappropriate times. Research suggests that good mood may lead to greater preference for healthy foods over indulgent foods.