Laughter is one of life’s greatest joys. We all feel this every time we do it. But just how beneficial is it for us?
In this post we will take a look at just some of the many benefits those joyful moments of laughter give you!
Lowers blood pressure
Researchers at Osaka University in Japan set out to see if both laughter and listening to music lowered blood pressure. They had three groups, one group listened to music, one group was made to genuinely laugh and the last group had neither. The results for the laughing group had a 5 mmHg reduction in their blood pressure.
“There is nothing in the world so irresistibly contagious as laughter and good humor.”
Interestingly, the music group had an even better reduction in blood pressure of 6mmHg, but maybe we’ll leave the benefits of music for another post.
You can read more about study over at at WebMD
Reduce Stress Hormone Levels
You can probably feel this after a good laugh with friends, the days stress just slips away and you feel your entire body relax.
Researchers found that the anticipation of “mirthful laughter” had surprising and significant effects on two hormones in particular; beta-endorphins (the family of chemicals that eases depression) increased by 27% and human growth hormone (HGH; which helps with immunity) increased by a massive 87%.
There was no such increase among the control group who did not anticipate watching the humor film.
For more information on this head over to Science Daily
“Your body cannot heal without play. Your mind cannot heal without laughter. Your soul cannot heal without joy.”
Laughing Burns Calories
Yes, it’s true laughing actually increases the rate at which your body burns calories.
Maciej Buchowski, Ph.D. found that laughing raises energy expenditure and increases heart rate by 10 to 20 percent. Ten to 15 minutes of laughter could increase energy expenditure by 10 to 40 calories per day, which could translate into about four pounds a year.
While this may not seem like much, but it all adds up and with all the other benefits laughter provides this is just a bonus!
You can read more about the research at Vanderbilt University
Boost T-Cells & Kills Tumor cells
T-Cells are specialized immune system cells just waiting in your body for activation. It turns out laughing activates them, pretty awesome, right!
Dr. Lee S. Berk, a preventive care specialist and psychoneuroimmunology researcher at Loma Linda University’s Schools of Allied Health (SAHP) and Medicine, and director of the molecular research lab at SAHP, Loma Linda, CA, and Dr. Stanley Tan found that laughter has a positive effect on modulating components of the immune system, including increased production of antibodies and activation of the body’s protective cells, including T-cells and especially Natural Killer cells’ killing activity of tumor cells.
If you’d like to read more about this please head over to Science Daily
“Laughter heals all wounds, and that’s one thing that everybody shares. No matter what you’re going through, it makes you forget about your problems. I think the world should keep laughing.”
Laughter is a Full-Cortex Experience
One study experimented with the electrical activity that occurs when we laugh. “About four-tenths of a second after we hear the punch line of a joke—but before we laugh—a wave of electricity sweeps through the cortex,” reports Peter Derks, a professor of psychology at the College of William and Mary.
As reported by Psychology Today:
- Stressed-out folks with a strong sense of humor become less depressed and anxious than those whose sense of humor is less well developed, according to a study by psychologists Herbert Lefcourt, of the University of Waterloo, and Rod Martin, Ph.D., now at the University of Western Ontario.
- Researchers at West Chester University in Pennsylvania found that students who used humor as a coping mechanism were more likely to be in a positive mood.
- In a study of depressed and suicidal senior citizens, the patients who recovered were the ones who demonstrated a sense of humor, reports psychiatrist Joseph Richman, professor emeritus at Albert Einstein Medical Center in the Bronx, New York.