There is a strong correlation between disease and stress. So if negative emotions such as worry and anxiety promote the disease, and positive emotions like happiness and laughter would annul it. It’s Perceived by the Patient, that “ten minutes of laugh allowed two hours of good sleep.”
A reasonable person might ask, “How does this work?” “How exactly does laughter improve physical functioning?”
The Physiology of Laughter
Gelotology is the study of the physiological effects of laughter on our bodies. Laughter, in simple terms, can be described as a total body, physiological response to humor. Similar to aerobic exercise, a hearty laugh involves contraction and relaxation of facial, chest, abdominal and skeletal muscles, easing muscle tension and spasms that create chronic pain. Within the first ten seconds of laughter, fifteen facial muscles contract and relax while stimulation of the zygomatic major muscle (the main lifting mechanism of your upper lip) occurs.
Due to effect of laughing normal cyclic breathing pattern is disrupted; this causes increased ventilation, clearing of mucous plugs and accelerating the exchange of residual air (which will boost blood oxygen levels). In extreme cases, the face may become red or purple. Studies have shown that simply twenty seconds of laughter has the ability to double heart rate for the following three to five minutes. As a result, its described laughter as “a form of jogging”.
Laughter induction initiates the fight-or-flight stress response. However, approximately 20 minutes after laughter, physiological measures such as heart rate, blood pressure, and muscular tension, drop below baseline levels. A sense of physiological and psychological relaxation and calmness occurs that can last up to forty five minutes following the person’s last laugh.
Your adrenal glands send catecholamines into your blood when you’re physically or emotionally stressed. Which may, in turn, affect mental functions such as interpersonal responsiveness, alertness, and memory. Similarly, laughter stimulates the release of endorphins. Known as the brain’s natural opiate, endorphins can result in decreased pain and a sense of euphoria. Finally, laughter has been shown to decrease the secretion of the stress hormone, serum cortisol.
Laughter also appears to have beneficial effects on immune system functioning. Low levels of immunoglobin A (IgA) are correlated with high life stress and illness; preliminary evidence links laughter and IgA and experimental research has demonstrated that concentrations of IgA increased after viewing humorous videotapes. Research has also demonstrated a relationship between laughter and activation of natural killer cells and a type of white blood cell , which are important for effective immune system functioning.
Here are ways you can bring laughter in your life:
- Make it a goal to laugh once per day. Each day, make it a point to identify the most amusing thing that occurred.
- Slow down and recognize absurdities that inevitably occur daily.
- Schedule laughter: look forward to something! Research indicates that simply the anticipation of laughter can improve cortisol and epinephrine levels.
- Surround yourself with a social network of people who appreciate and reciprocate your humor.
In Conclusion, laughter can help improve mood, increase immune system functioning, and moderate stress hormones. Additionally, laughter is free (or at the very least, affordable) and it lacks harmful or unwanted side effects (with the exception of the occasional stomachache). It has been hypothesized that if a pharmaceutical company was to create a new medication that had the same benefits and side-effects as laughter, with a similar cost profile, it would gladly be embraced in the medical community.