‘Laughter is infectious!’ If you’ve ever been around a cheery group or a person who can’t seem to stop laughing, you’ll realise that there’s more to this phrase than mere cliché. In fact, the effects of a hearty laugh go beyond just noise. Socially, sharing laughter can bind people together, while it also triggers a host of responses in the body ranging from physical to emotional to mental.
At the Laughter Wellness Workshop in October, we’ll delve even further into the impact that laughter can have on business, aged care, mental illness, disability, education, relationships, fitness, and health. But first, what exactly is the link between laughter and wellness? How can something so simple have such a large influence on so many aspects of our lives?
Nobody goes through life without experiencing some level of stress, tension and anxiety. Studies have shown that vigorous laughter, whether unintentional or forced, triggers psychological responses in our bodies to immediately alleviate many of our worries. It instantly reduces stress and improves your mood.
Laughter is Good for Your Health
The physical health benefits are a result of your body’s natural response to experiencing laughter. While more research is needed, science has shown that laughing promotes:
- Muscle Relaxation: In order to laugh, your body naturally must relax many of its muscles. During the course of a laugh, more muscles are triggered into response, causing a full-body muscle relaxation. Have you ever tried to laugh during the middle of a jog? If so, then you know what we’re talking about!
- Immunity: Chemical responses are triggered within your body when you laugh, increasing immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies, thus improving your resistance to disease.
- Circulation: Laughter requires one to breathe heavily, helping to oxygenate your blood and improve blood flow.
Laughter is Good for Your Emotions and Mind
Laughter is typically associated with happiness and joy, but sometimes people will laugh at inappropriate situations without intending to do so! Your body knows that sometimes stressful and sad situations need an antibody, and thus it will naturally trigger a laughter response in an attempt to reap these emotional and mental benefits:
- Calms Breathing: While it may be hard to breathe when you’re actually laughing, the result afterwards is that your body regains a balance and almost resets itself for a calmer, more fluid breath.
- Boosts Cognitive Function: The more oxygen delivered to your system as a physical benefit from laughing is also impacting your cognitive function, as this oxygenated blood is also helping to boost your cognitive awareness.
- Promotes Positivity: You can’t help but feel a little sense of happiness or positivity when laughing, even at the best resistance. Laughing naturally promotes positivity.
Keep in mind that many of these physical, emotional, and mental benefits are what supports conflict resolution, a diffusing of uncomfortable situations, and better relationships.