As an old Irish saying goes;
“A good laugh and a long sleep are the best cures there are.”
You’ve probably heard this and similar pearls of wisdom dozens of times, but the amazing truth is that a plethora of studies prove that having a chuckle has a whole host of beneficial effects on health, popularity, success and even weight loss.
Laughter is entirely free and requires no special equipment, clothing or gym membership; it also contains no calories, can be done anywhere and has no known ill-effects.
With so much going for it, why not indulge in a giggle or two whilst learning more about the significant rewards of having a laugh?
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Chortling is Fun, Free and Fabulous
Laugher is one of the few things in life which is both fun to do and good for you.
Discover how simply sharing a joke or watching a comedy show can leave you in better condition and more able to resist the stresses and strains of everyday life. Detailed below are seven excellent reasons why there’s never been a better time to start your daily regime of belly-laughs and chuckles.
#1. Enhanced Immune System
Research has demonstrated that laughing effects a number of beneficial physiological changes on the body.
An important alteration is an increase in the number of circulating T-cells, antibodies and gamma interferon in the blood. These substances work together to strengthen the immune response, boosting the body’s resistance to harmful viruses and bacteria.
In addition, levels of epinephrine and cortisol (“stress” hormones) were decreased. These hormones are shown to be immuno-suppressant agents, so their diminution allows the immune system to work more effectively.
#2. Improved Pain Tolerance
Medical studies on laughter identify effects which are best explained by a rise in the amount of endorphins (“feel-good” hormones) in the body.
It has been shown that endorphins have the capacity to block pain. An additional facet of laughter is that it distracts from pain by providing an alternative focus for thoughts and emotions.
Opinion is divided regarding which aspect of laughter has the strongest analgesic effect, but its capacity to reduce painful sensations is a great reason to stick to your giggle workout.
#3. Increased Attractiveness
Sociological work tells us what most of us already knew:
People who laugh (appropriately and kindly) or smile are more attractive than those with miserable or angry faces.
A shared joke or group chortle can work wonders in making individuals feel more at ease with each other and increasing camaraderie. A humorous remark can often successfully diffuse a tense or embarrassing situation, resulting in more harmonious relationships.
Instinctively, people want to spend time in the company of somebody who makes them feel better. Why not deliver some one-liners and see your popularity improve?
#4. Better Memory
Laughing prior to attempting to memorise something means we are more likely to remember it.
A good laugh relaxes the body and mind, making your brain better able to take in and retain information afterwards. Can you remember what you had for tea yesterday?
If not, make an effort to have an uproarious meal this evening and see if you can recall the menu tomorrow. Chances are you’ll be able to recollect every dish, even weeks after the event. This technique is a useful aid to use before public speaking or other events where good recall is critical.
#5. Greater Relaxation
Having a gut-busting guffaw loosens everything up! Laughing uses a considerable number of muscles, ranging from the diaphragm and intercostal muscles which are used in respiration, through to facial muscles and those of the spine and abdomen.
After a period of tension, muscles inevitably relax, leaving you with the lovely warm, relaxed feeling you get after meditating or exercising. This can not only guard against the pain and discomfort of tight muscles, it can also promote mental relaxation, maximizing the chances of good quality sleep, which can prove elusive for many people.
An added benefit of using those mirth muscles is calorie burning; each gale of laughter uses around 15 calories
#6. Happy Thoughts
One of the most popular behavioural therapies, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), focusses on helping individuals change the way they view situations in order to enable them to deal more positively with them.
Humour is a proven method of assisting in putting things in perspective and diminishing their negative impact. Being able to see the funny side of a mishap or inconvenience often triggers more positive thoughts about the experience, which can enhance mood and promote more beneficial behavioral choices.
#7. Healthier Heart
Variation in hormone levels following plenty of laughter can lower blood pressure, which in turn decreases the stress on the heart each time it pumps.
Additionally, some researchers have found that blood flow improves and the function of blood vessels is enhanced provided plenty of chuckling occurs. A good diet and plenty of exercise are the best lifestyle choices for heart well-being, but including a few comedy moments in your workout can only be a good thing.
Whilst a chortle or two may not transform your life overnight, it’s certainly a simple and effective way to make the world seem brighter and help prompt those little changes which start to improve things for the better.
Laughter has many advantages, not least of which is that it is enormously enjoyable. So go on, lighten up and have a laugh! It will do you good.
Health by choice, not by chance,