Laughing has the ability to ease tension by relaxing the muscles throughout the body, particularly the muscles of the face, neck, shoulder and abdomen. When laughter is uncontrolled, this creates a convulsive reaction that helps loosen muscular tension and mobilize breathing.
People who love laughing have lower levels of stress hormones such as cortisol, and epinephrine. As the levels of these hormones decrease, the body becomes more relaxed and feels not just physical but also emotional rest.
Loma Linda University researchers found that even anticipating a good laugh produced an increase in HGH (an anti-aging hormone) of as much as 87%.
By reviving blood circulation and increasing oxygenation of the blood, laughter is considered to be a powerful ally in the fight against heart disease.
In a study conducted by the University of Maryland Medical Center, the results indicated that laughter seemed to cause the endothelium (tissue that composes the lining of blood vessels) to expand, allowing for better blood flow.
In another study conducted by the University of Maryland Medical Center a correlation was demonstrated between people who laugh often and overall heart health. The researchers found that people with heart disease were 40% less likely to laugh in a variety of situations compared to people of the same age without heart disease.
According to the National Cancer Institute, laughter keeps the stress hormones under control and aids immune system agents such as the NK cells, lymphocytes, B cells, and T cells function optimally.
Scientific research has suggested that by lowering our blood pressure, boosting our immune functions, decreasing stress hormones, etc,; laughter actually helps us recuperate faster from various ailments.
Laughter provides one of the best health benefits for diabetics. In a 2012 study performed on 19 diabetic patients, it was demonstrated that laughter helped suppress blood sugar levels by ameliorating the postprandial (after eating a meal) glucose excursion in the presence of insufficient insulin action.
Japanese researchers found that laughing in the evening encourages the body to produce more melatonin (the hormone released by the brain at sleep onset).
A good laughter causes the brain to release stress relieving endorphins which increases people’s ability to cope with stressful situations.
Researchers at the University of Oxford found that laughter plays a significant role in increasing a person’s pain tolerance by encouraging the body to release the feel-good chemical endorphin.
Laughing can actually be a form of exercise, too. Laughing exercises the diaphragm, shoulders and abdomen (however, don’t quit your gym membership in exchange for a “Laugh-your-self-into-great-shape” plan).
Research has shown that laughing increases your attractiveness. Not surprising research also shows that it’s easier for a person to “score” if the person is witty and funny.
Laughter is said to be like a hypothetical knife that cuts tension from a room and allows people to relax. As laughter helps reduce the levels of stress hormones in the body and relax the muscles, it helps people become calmer and less aggressive.
As laughter improves blood flow, controls stress hormones and provides a burst of exercise, it conveys a wake-up call to body organs such as the heart, brain and lungs and stimulates them into action.
Research shows that laughter facilitates digestion and serves as therapy that can help alleviate irritable bowel syndrome.
Doctors in western Japan once provided elderly people with inclusive medical care programs that involved both physical training and laughter therapy. About 92 percent of the beneficiaries reported that their annual medical costs fell 30% after joining the program.
Laughter increases lung capacity and clears out your lungs by forcing enough stale air out thus allowing fresh air to enter into more areas of the lung.
According to studies, laughter has a strong influence on a person’s self-image (especially for men). For example, when a person laughs at a man’s jokes, it gives that man a sense of pride (so ladies, if you want to reach a man’s heart? laugh at his jokes…all of them).
Aside from causing people to think logically, laughter also encourages creativity. In fact, it is often considered a “creative thinking exercise” to purposely laugh out loud.
The combination of the many benefits to laughter has shown to increase longevity of life. In fact, in a 20 year study, researchers found that those who held a more positive outlook on life increased their lifespan to 7.8 more years.
Some studies show that laughter actually positively affects productivity. The positive mood of a person allows them to be better at creative problem solving. They also have more energy, have higher motivation to work, and are optimistic about challenges that come their way.
According to studies, couples who do sessions of laughter meditation together find a tremendous improvement in their relationship. Moreover, families that laugh often have closer ties and do well in balancing the stresses of life.
The face displays a great amount of our stress via tightened muscles and wrinkles. But when we laugh, tension from the face, neck and head is released. As such, we maintain a more youthful appearance.