The daily routine and the various problems you encounter at work and at home are no laughing matter, but rather stressful, frustrating and overwhelming. In fact, the statistics indicate that adults laugh 80 times lesser than children. Perhaps this is why most people associate childhood with a carefree and happy time when the world was yours to discover and conquer. Nonetheless, regardless of what life throws at you, you have plenty of reasons to laugh. Following is the top 10 reasons why people should be encouraged to laugh more.
1. Laughter is the best pain medication
It is said that there is no better medication than laughter: while you laugh, the brain releases a high amount of endorphins that induce an overall happy feeling. At the same time, laughing is the best distraction from pain and it leads to a pleasant muscle relaxation. Therefore, next time your head or belly aches, you should try laughing at it.
2. Laughter prevents cardiovascular diseases
A study at the University of Michigan shows that patients who suffer from various cardiovascular diseases are 40% less likely to laugh compared to perfectly healthy individuals. The research on the matter indicates that laughter not only lowers blood pressure, but it also affects the blood flow in a positive way. According to specialists who conducted the study, 15 minutes of laughter per day can compensate for a regular working out program.
3. Laughter improves inter-human relationships
Without a doubt, laughing is a very contagious gesture: if you smile at a person, you will immediately observe that he/she will smile back at you. At the same time, laughter is perceived as an universal phenomenon that happens in every culture with the same goals: connecting, bonding and establishing a rapport with somebody.
Besides, nobody feels comfortable or enjoys being around a person who is always sad, depressed and has an overall grim vision of the future. The best place to clearly observe this issue is at stores, where the vast majority of customers prefers to wait in line in order to interact with the happy, smiling shop assistant and will only work with the grumpy ones if they are forced to. In general, people prefer the company of happy individuals as the overall mood of is elevated and the relationships gain more quality and consistency.
4. Laughter is the best way to counter the harmful effects of stress
According to clinical research when you laugh, your body is more prone to releasing T cell antibodies that boost and protect the immune system. To put it simply, happy people are less likely to get sick compared to individuals who prefer to see the empty half of the glass. Furthermore, laughter is also proven to reduce the levels of four types of hormones that are currently being linked to stress. Even if laughter provides a short period of happiness, its long term effects against stress cannot be denied.
5. Laughter promotes losing weight
Have you ever laughed so much that your tummy ached? Well, this is because this activity is known to act like a 15 minute intense workout. Laughing means working out the diaphragm, contracting the abdominal muscles and exercising the shoulders, all at the same time! In addition, laughter is known to raise the heart rate and metabolism. As a consequence, if you engaged in a weight losing program, you will get faster results if you surround yourself with happy people and make a habit out of watching comedies and sitcoms daily.
6. Laughter improves breathing
Out of all the positive physical effects laughter has on the body, this is by far the most interesting one: during laughter, the lungs release more air than they take in, hence resulting in a cleansing effect for the respiratory system. In a way, laughter has the same positive effects on the body as deep breathing techniques. Due to this fact, some physicians believe that laughter can be especially helpful for people suffering from chronic respiratory conditions (E.G. asthma).
7. Laughter endorses creativity and learning
Statistics indicate that students are more likely to learn easier from a teacher who is able to break the classroom routine with humorous stories. A teacher who enjoys laughing manages to create a more relaxed and positive environment in the classroom. Moreover, if the information presented can be associated with jokes or a humorous part, there are better chances that the students will remember the main points of the class. On a side note, studies also indicate that laughter helps students see things from a different perspective.
8. People who laugh live longer
You have probably heard that optimists have a longer life expectancy than pessimists. According to a study conducted on the elderly, the seniors who expect good things to happen and think of the future with optimism are 55% less likely to develop conditions or die from causes that typically affect the pessimists. The study published in the Archives of General Psychiatry also point out that seniors who engage in physical activities, do not have unhealthy habits and are overall optimistic are 71% less likely to get sick or die unexpectedly.
9. Laughter is one of the best coping mechanisms
As previously mentioned, laughter is a good distraction from various pains and aches. At the same time, research shows that laughter is also an excellent coping mechanism that is able to take people’s focus away from negative emotions, anger, stress, sadness and other unpleasant sentiments cause by the events of everyday life. In other words, laughing will divert your mind from the problem that is bothering you, will make you happy and will induce a positive state of mind. Because it is associated with reduced tension and stress and because it is known to diminish irritability and anxiety, laughter can also decrease the levels of sadness proprietary to depression.
10. Laughter helps keep hormone levels under control
Laughing increases the production of health enhancing neurotransmitters, while decreasing the levels of the hormones associated with stress; especially cortisol, adrenaline and dopamine.