Laughter is more than the signature sound of humour and happiness that’s unique to everyone. It’s an experience – one that reverberates throughout your whole body.
The benefits of laughter are not to be taken for granted.
Every time you laugh, fifteen facial muscles contract, the size of your larynx reduces by 50%, and your tear ducts are activated.
Able to induce euphoric feelings with a similar effect to morphine, laughter can instantly transform mood, help you bond with a loved one or stranger, and immediately lift your spirits.
In fact, did you know that laughing 100 times a day gives your body a thorough workout – one that’s comparable to spending fifteen minutes on an exercise bike?
Not only that, laughing reduces blood pressure, is excellent for the cardiovascular system, and improves memory and cognitive functioning.
And that’s not all. Scientific studies have found that laughter increases the amount of T and B cells which are the body’s natural defence against viruses and cancer other illnesses – even cancer.
So, you could argue that the more you laugh, the stronger your body’s resistance to serious illness will be.
With clear emotional and physiological benefits, there’s no denying that laughter will improve your quality of your life.
Attaining that perfect work-life balance is ultimate-goal for many in the UK. To achieve this and enjoy all that you do, those moments of levity are paramount.
Interested in learning more of the identifiable universal health benefits of laughter? Here are five simple reasons why you should be laughing more.
Leading studies have shown that laughter can improve people’s mood and general happiness.
Think of it this way, if you walk around with a black cloud hanging over your head, the way you perceive what’s happening to and all around you is different than if the metaphorical clouds lift and the sun breaks through.
Laughter is one of the cornerstones of sustained happiness. It can cultivate gratitude for a shared moment or solitary experience.
Even pretend laughter, without any humorous stimuli can improve mood.
Try laughing without something funny occurring and you’ll find that your brain doesn’t immediately register whether the stimuli is genuine or not, yet the physical act of laughter will lift your mood.
Research has also suggested that laughter has an analgesic quality that reduces unconscious pain, something that’s paramount for regulating mood.
The mood enhancement and mental benefits of laughter can help you to recognise positivity and forget negative thoughts in a heartbeat.
At one time or another we’ve all cursed our memory.
Whether it has been when you’ve returned from the shops only to discover you’ve bought everything but the one item that you went out for, or that dentist appointment that you booked months in advance only to forget on the day, forgetfulness seems to be symptomatic of our busy lives.
The good news for anyone prone to bouts of forgetfulness is that laughter improves memory.
The connections and associations that the brain forms when learning can be heightened by combining basic learning with an emotional response like laughing.
Improving the degree of association with different parts of your brain, such as logic, reason or amusement, makes it easier to remember facts and details because you have created that additional emotional connection.
So, let’s say for example that you work in an office where it’s all systems go.
One where it feels like every singe day there’s a million and one things to do and remember.
Try introducing laughter to your role (exercised with discretion and professionalism, of course) and you may just find that the benefits of laughter and elevated mood help you to perform your role with finesse and agility – and remember too, a happy team is a productive team.
Get your colleagues laughing and the day will surely go quicker.
For many people, creativity is paramount to their professional and personal lives.
Creativity can even be potent enough to become a significant part of someone’s identity, meaning that separating them from their ability to envision and execute ideas that others cannot is who they are.
Did you know that laughter promotes creativity? Laughing has a myriad of effects on the chemical processes in the body.
In reducing stress hormones, increasing endorphins, and increasing oxygenation to the brain and blood, you will feel a spike in creativity – something that is highly valued in people’s professional lives and hobbies away from work.
If you feel sluggish, uninspired, or worse, demotivated to pursue your artistic, or any creative, endeavours in your spare time, try laughing.
Laughing improves general neurological health, bolstering your body’s natural support system.
This is one of the core health benefits of laughter. Getting that work-life balance is paramount to sustained emotional and physical health – and something as simple as laughing can have a profound effective on productivity and impetus.
After all, the better we feel, the more likely we are to find the motivation to get done what we need to.
Bolsters Resilience and Coping Skills
Life is an interesting journey; we all experience peaks and valleys, face adversity, have obstacles to overcome, and bask in those moments when the stars just seem to align perfectly.
Often when faced with trials, it as much about how you manage the circumstance as it is the actual circumstance itself.
In many cases, it’s about the big picture.
Think of it this way: you’re driving home from work and your car falters fives miles from home. It’s raining. You’ve had a trying day and you need to get home and put the dinner on. You can give into frustration or anger, or take a moment, breathe deeply and think about how to solve the problem.
Now, let’s compound the circumstance.
What if your car was in for a service a week or two before and every potential reliability issue was addressed, apart from the one that’s caused you to break down?
You could either get disheartened and question, why me? Or, laugh at the irony of the situation and act positively to resolve the issue.
In this situation, there are few more impactful actions than employing mental benefits of laughter.
Lightening your mood can have a transformative effect, bolstering resilience and coping skills in that vital moment – or in all future circumstances.
Reduces Blood Pressure
High blood pressure (or hypertension) can have a profoundly negative effect on our health.
Acknowledged as being one of the primary culprits of heart disease and stroke, sustained stress is something that everyone should avoid, regardless of age.
However, consider this: it’s hard to be stressed when you’re laughing. Recent studies have found that laughing can reduce blood pressure. One of the more referenced study is one conducted in 2011 at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions.
Researchers took a diligent and thorough approach to discover the heath benefits of laughter and discovered something rather interesting.
Using playful eye contact and breathing exercises, 79 participants took part in a series of music and laughter therapies.
After each session was concluded, blood pressure readings were taken.
Within 3 months the study found that the blood pressure readings of participants were reduced on average by 7 mmHg (millimetres of mercury.)
In comparison, participants in the music therapy discovered that their blood pressure readings were reduced on average by 6 mmHg (millimetres of mercury.)
The conclusion? Laughter is more effective than music in reducing blood pressure. Feeling stressed or anxious? Laugh – it may well be the salvation you’re looking for!
Why Laughter Yoga?
The success of laughter studies on reducing blood pressure and other health ailments has led to a unique and uniquely effective form of treatment – laughter yoga.
The benefits of laughter yoga are evident from your first session. Unsure what to expect?
Come along to a session at UnitedMind Laughter Yoga.
You won’t find a comedian with a microphone telling jokes whilst you’re concentrating on holding a Mountain pose, Forward Fold or Downward-Facing Dog. You don’t even need to be in a jolly mood.
Laughter is initiated as a form of bodily exercise.
Participants sit together in a group and laugh. Eye contact is completely up to you, but be prepared, this can often lead to uncontrollable fits of giggles.
Interested in learning more about the benefits of laughter yoga?
Want to discover what happens at one of our Joy workshops?
Call UnitedMind today on 0800 1214 714 or email firstname.lastname@example.org and begin your journey towards contentment today.