We've all heard that 'Laughter is the best medicine'. Well, there are many proven benefits from laughing, chuckling or giggling. Laughing can reduce stress, lower your blood pressure as well as boost your immune system. Seriously.
The human reaction of laughing is not full understood. Researchers are currently running tests on the effects of laughter. Scientists are actually starting to put people into functional MRI machines and make them laugh in order to find out. In a recent study at Stanford, researchers showed humorous materials to people while their brains were monitored by an MRI. They were able to prove for the first time that laughter (or at least humor) stimulates the parts of our brain that use the "feel good" chemical messenger dopamine. That puts laughter in the category of activities you want to do over and over again, such as eating chocolate or having sex. Dopamine systems that get out of whack can lead to addiction, says Emory University neurologist Gregory Berns. This finding explains why kids want to keep playing silly games until parents can't stand it anymore. Laughter is pleasurable, perhaps even "addictive," to the brain.
Laughter relaxes the whole body. A good, hearty laugh relieves physical tension and stress, leaving your muscles relaxed for up to 45 minutes after.
Laughter boosts the immune system. Laughter decreases stress hormones and increases immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies, thus improving your resistance to disease.
Laughter triggers the release of endorphins, the body’s natural feel-good chemicals. Endorphins promote an overall sense of well-being and can even temporarily relieve pain.
Laughter protects the heart. Laughter improves the function of blood vessels and increases blood flow, which can help protect you against a heart attack and other cardiovascular problems.
I turn to old episodes of Seinfeld or The Office if I need a good laugh. When I'm flipping through channels I usually try to find a comedy first. Did you laugh today? Find something that makes you laugh. It's good for you.
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Clay Miller (Clay_Miller)
Graphic designer/illustrator and owner of Miller Creative Designs, LLC who on Lunch.com likes to shareinsight on Greenand health insight, ideas and other tidbits.Creator/writer of Ways2GoGreen .com& … more
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Laughter is an audible expression or the appearance of happiness, or an inward feeling of joy (laughing on the inside). It may ensue (as a phyiological reaction) from jokes, tickling or other stimuli. It is in most cases a very pleasant sensation.
Laughter is found among various animals, as well as in humans. Among the human species, it is a part of human behavior regulated by the brain, helping humans clarify their intentions in social interaction and providing an emotional context to conversations. Laughter is used as a signal for being part of a group — it signals acceptance and positive interactions with others. Laughter is sometimes seemingly contagious, and the laughter of one person can itself provoke laughter from others as a positive feedback. This may account in part for the popularity of laugh tracks in situation comedy television shows.