Is laughter the best medicine, or do we just feel better at the time we’re laughing? Discover the science behind why laughing is good for our health.
Have you ever been in the company of someone who can’t stop laughing? Within moments, you’re also laughing.
It’s contagious, it’s sociable. It seems to be wired into our brains. It’s a natural and universal thing that we all do.
Further, it’s been found that we laugh more at normal conversation than we do at actual jokes.
It seems that laughter is more than just humor, it is a form of conversation too.
Moreover, laughter is clearly a part of our social interaction. When we laugh, it helps to make us feel part of the group.
It signals our acceptance and enjoyment of being in the company of the people we’re spending time with.
There’s no doubt that laughter is an important part of interacting with the people around us. Laughter is an important social tool.
Laughter is fun and it’s free: We’ve all been doing it since we were 3 or 4 months old.
Try this for yourself – Take a look at some YouTube videos of laughing babies, and you’ll be laughing within seconds.
It makes us feel good, but how deep does this feeling of well-being go? Can laughter actually have an impact on us at a biological level?
What happens to us when we laugh? Is laughter good for our health?
Given that laughter is universal, and recognized by everyone, it’s surprising that we very often don’t give too much thought as to why we actually laugh.
Laughter lessens conflict, pain, and stress.
On the other hand, laughter is also the best thing ever for bringing good feelings and pleasure.
There is nothing quite so enjoyable as laughing until we cry in the company of our friends.
We use humor and laughing to make light of our problems and to reach out to those around us. We laugh to keep ourselves relaxed and alert.
With this ability to renew your health and heal you, laughter can be a great soother for whatever problems you may have.
Studies have shown that laughter can also strengthen relationships. Friends that laugh together report the strongest feelings of connection with each other.
On top of this, laughter can aslo support your emotional and physical health and well-being.
Thankfully, it is something that has intrigued psychologists for a long time, and the study of laughter even has a name: gelotology from the Greek gelos – to laugh.
Is Laughter The Best Medicine? Laughter and the immue system.
Studies have found that laughter has a huge effect on our immune systems.
This study concluded that “laughter has shown physiological, psychological, social, spiritual, and quality-of-life benefits.”
The researchers did however note that :
Although there is not enough data to demonstrate that laughter is an all-around healing agent, this review concludes that there exists sufficient evidence to suggest that laughter has some positive, quantifiable effects on certain aspects of health.
In this era of evidence-based medicine, it would be appropriate for laughter to be used as a complementary/alternative medicine in the prevention and treatment of illnesses, although further well-designed research is warranted.
Furthermore, a 2016 study indicated that laughter was a normal physiologic response to external and internal triggers.
The current research is demonstrating the amazing health benefits of laughter
Current research has demonstrated that laughter may also have multiple positive and long-lasting physiological effects.
This is especially true for those who engage in laughter on a regular basis.
We are already familiar with the preventative and curative properties of the keto diet, sleep and exercise.
Obviously those are all great for our health, but it’s important that laughter is a big part of our lives too.
It’s been shown to be amazingly good for our health. There’s no doubt that we should give it the importance it deserves.
Laughter and stress hormones
When we laugh our physiology changes.
Our blood pressure goes down and our heart health improves. The body releases its “happy hormones” endorphins.
These lift our mood and reduces our levels of the stress hormones adrenalin and cortisol drop.
This study from all the way back to 1987 found that the stress hormones levels of 10 subjects watching an hour-long humor video decreased significantly.
Among experimental subjects, cortisol decreased from 240 ± 60 at baseline to 90 ± 10 a half-hour after finishing the video. This compared to control subjects who decreased from 390 ± 90 to 270 ± 60 after the same amount of time.
Cortisol, one of the stress hormones, is produced all the time. Its levels rise and fall in our bodies in time with our circadian rhythm. When we’re under stress, cortisol levels rise.
Cortisol levels which remain too high for too long can cause many physical problems. Sleep difficulties when we’re stressed are triggered by high cortisol levels.
What isn’t quite so well-known is that elevated levels of cortisol can also trigger inflammation in our bodies.