I have recently read that laughter has a powerful (almost magical) effect on your body. Let’s take a look at what happens to you when you respond to something funny: according to numerous researches when you hear a joke and crack up laughing, a strong electrical wave is being sent through your cortex engaging all parts of it, which, basically, boosts the vital processes of your body. Laughing is known to promote release of endorphins (hormones of happiness) and reduce the level of cortisol (stress hormones), strengthen your immune system, slow down your heart rate and lower blood pressure. It is also said to boost your creativity and help to cure various deceases such as cancer and diabetes and promotes healthy sleep patterns.
Norman Cousins an American political journalist, author, professor and world peace advocate was diagnosed with a rare form of arthritis and was said by a doctor that he had “little chance of surviving” and had cured himself by watching comedies and taking vitamin C. His own quote was: “I made the joyous discovery that ten minutes of genuine belly laughter had an anesthetic effect and would give me at least two hours of pain-free sleep”.
There is a whole study dedicated to the healing power of laughter called Gelotology, which offers us three kinds of laughter therapy:
Humor and Laughter Therapy – it consists of watching comedies, reading funny books, telling jokes and anecdotes or doing basically anything to make the patients laugh and engage in a conversation sharing their personal humorous experience with others. It’s done as a part of rehabilitation process to help the body activate it’s regenerating processes.
Laughter meditation– Performed pretty much as a regular meditation, only focusing on laughing instead of breathing. It is, traditionally, a three-step process including stretching, intentional laughing and the meditative silence.
Laughter yoga – includes about 45 minutes of laughter exercises incorporated in its usual routine.
The good part about these activities is that they don’t require any emotional effort on your side. Everything is pure mechanics. The laughter meditation instructions lay it out in one simple step-by-step system, suggesting us to start by “gently turning corners of our mouth upwards and starting with a soft smile”, no imagine-the-funniest-moment-of-your-life crap here, that will make your mind freeze while trying to remember it.
People that laugh a lot are more successful in life than those who don’t, as laughter is a natural ice breaker helping people to open up and create a personal bond with those around them. It was stated that laughter is increasing creative thinking and improves productivity.
To summarize it all, laughing can help you reduce the amount of stress in your life, stabilize your blood pressure, strengthen your immune system, increase your vital energy level and improve the overall quality of your life, it is free and there is no cap on how much of it you can use. Isn’t it funny?!