The Power to Laugh: Why is laughter good for us?

Madeeine L’Engle said “A good laugh heals a lot of hurts” but what really are the benefits of laughter? Here we explore why laughing (or at least making your body think it’s laughing) is good for us.

The Power to Laugh: Why is laughter good for us?

Madeeine L’Engle said “A good laugh heals a lot of hurts” but what really are the benefits of laughter? Here we explore why laughing (or at least making your body think it’s laughing) is good for us.

What is laughter?

There are two parts of laughter. The first: the sound and the second: the gestures. When we laugh our bodies do both these actions. It is an involuntary action and we can’t choose what we do and don’t find funny.

The process starts in our frontal lobe. The frontal lobe is located at the front of the brain and is split into two halves. The left is for our practical side and the right is our creative side. When we hear or see a joke both parts of our brain are used. The left side determines if the sounds and images we are seeing are a joke and the right tells us if the joke is funny.

Once this is determined the limbic system gets the message that we need to laugh. It then send signals to parts of our body that show the physical signs.

What are the benefits

There are many benefits to laughing but here are a few :

  1. Improves your overall health- It can boost the immune system, reduce stress and even reduces blood pressure.
  2. Laughter releases endorphins- Endorphins are the happy/feel good chemicals in the brain so when we laugh these endorphins are released and we feel happier.
  3. Laughing actually burns calories- a study found that laughing for 10-15 minutes a day can burn 40 calories.

 

Although having a good chuckle is great. We don’t have to really laugh to make us feel happier. By just making the sounds and gestures we can trick our brains into thinking we are laughing for real. This is why laughter therapy and yoga popularity has risen in recent times.

 

How can you experience more laugher

After a stressful day it could be a good idea to do one of the following to help you feel less stressed:

  1. Watch a funny show
  2. Attend a laughter therapy or yoga group
  3. Read a funny book
  4. Meet up with friends

 

Source: Helpguide.org Howstuffworks.com and Bbc.co.uk

To find out more ways to help your wellbeing please visit our wellness page here.

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