Your Brain and Body on Laughter: Boosting Your Health
There are so many articles and “this just in” news reports on how much stress can plummet the immune system. I like to be more on the optimistic side, and look at situations with a positive spin, more like looking at the glass half full and speckled with positive ions, so to speak. What does our body look like on laughter, and how does that effect our overall functional health? Several professors from colleges such as Columbus State Community College, the University of Oxford, the University of Zurich and the University of Colorado all positively agree, “laughter can temporarily alter our physical biology for the better.” This filed of study dedicated to deciphering the relationship between human behavior is called psychoneuroimmunology, and it has shown that the mind is a powerful tool in how it affects the immune system.
Let’s see how the body reacts to laughter!
Our brain on the funny juice:
the centers that relate to higher thought, muscle function and emotion shoots a signal to the brain stem (the brain’s headquarters) and stimulates lung functioning for better breathing and laughing.
The lungs and chuckling:
The diaphragm and chest muscles contract, forcing air out of the lungs which lead to the vibrations of the vocal chords, which massage the entire vocal system and larynx.
The happy eyes:
Facial muscles begin to contract and the eyes will lubricate from happy saline tears.
Our happy heart:
The heart rate and blood pressure will heighten to help carry more fresh oxygen to the tissues and organs. Circulation inside the body elevates.
6 pack abs on laughter:
The more you laugh, and the harder you laugh, the more your core and abdominal muscles are engaged because they are working to help expel air. Happier people do have a smaller midsection. It has been proven. Some laughter researchers claim that one minute of a good hearty laugh equates to ten minutes on the rower machine at the gym. See? Watching quirky movies can pay off.
Want all the goodness of laughing and beat arthritis, insomnia, allergies and heart disease? Try laughter yoga!
Immune System on laughter
Laughing boosts the immune system (as one of the best medicines) because it can increase the body’s T-cells, (body helper cells which help to fight off free radicals in the body). Free radicals can lead to chronic disease, cancer and other ailments.
Hormones on happy:
True laughter and feeling good helps the body release feel good endorphins (same opiates triggered by exercise). Pain threshold may heighten temporarily, as well. The stress hormone cortisol (linked to exhaustion and depression) should decrease as mood elevates and feel good hormones increase.
Reduce pain, boost immune system and feel better about yourself? Engage in fun, light hearted fun and learn to laugh (at yourself, too) to bring yourself to better optimum health.
Sources: Discovery.com, womenshealth.com, WebMD, laughteryoga.org