Laughter = Free Medicine?
Just how medicines are used to treat you when you’re sick, laughter is one contagious disease you might want to catch! Studies have shown that laughing may lead to a longer life! A positive is that laughter does not usually leave a bad taste in your mouth (like cough medicine) or has restrictions. There are both physical and mental positive side effects to laughter, which can have an impact on your health, sociability and life. So not only is it fun to laugh, there are actual health benefits too!
Laughter = Drug?
Laughing triggers the release of chemicals called endorphins from your brain. Endorphins act on opioid receptors and reduce the feelings of pain. Drugs such as morphine and heroin also act on the same receptors, but laughing is safer, and free from any nasty side effects – so I guess it’s alright to be addicted to laughter!
Just by laughing more, you have a higher chance of living longer! A recent study has shown that those who have a higher sense of humour tend to have a lower chance of contracting heart diseases, infection, cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
Laughter is pretty much free, (unless you pay to watch comedy shows and Netflix/movies) so there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be doing it too.
Laughing = Exercise?
Laughter is sort of a workout for our bodies. Muscles such as the diaphragm, abdominals, lungs and face muscles are activated. This causes an exercise response by increasing heart rate, lowering blood pressure and increasing the levels of oxygen in our blood! The diaphragm is connected to the immune and lymphatic systems, which result in more immunity cells being produced. Laughter has a positive effect on our physical internal and external health!
Laughing = Good for Mental Health?
Social laughter with friends bring about feel-good feelings. A sense of community and bonding usually comes hand in hand with laughter and being in a group. Feelings of acceptance and belonging to a group is great for our mental wellbeing, as it reaffirms the fact that we are loved.
Humour and laughter seem to make difficult situations better. For example, if I joke around and laugh about the upcoming exams and how many lectures I have left to catch up on, I feel much better! Humour can change our perspective on how we view stressful situations and problems, causing us to be more resilient.
Furthermore, laughter decreases the amount of cortisol, a stress-related chemical, from being released into the bloodstream. High levels of cortisol is associated with negative side effects, such as an interference to memory and learning functions, mental illness, depression and many more.
For me, a lot of fond memories that I share with my friends and family are associated with funny situations. Even though I don’t always remember everything we were joking about, it definitely strengthened our bond – and that’s priceless.
I’ve been told that I laugh *too much* (random fun fact: I won an award for “Best Laugh” during high school) but if laughter has proof that you will live longer, hopefully I will live a laughter-filled, happy and long fulfilling life!