Life is just better when you're laughing

Author: Thato Tinte

Laughter can make life a bit easier

When last did you have a good, hearty laugh? 

 

And no, not a ROFL or a LOL that you shamelessly type with a straight face because it’s too much effort to crack a smile.

 

We’re talking about that uncontrolled, loud, side-splitting, tear-jerking, I-can’t-catch-my-breath-I-need-a-moment-I’m-actually-embarrassing-myself type of laughter.

 

If you can’t really remember the last time you laughed, let alone how hard, it might be time to stop searching for aha moments and start pursuing ha ha moments.

 

It’s not called the best medicine for nothing

 

Laughing has many great emotional and physical benefits with numerous research papers listing it as a natural and powerful antidote to stress, pain and conflict.

 

Besides being a quick “pick me up”, laughing is also good for your long-term health with the Mayo Clinic and Yale Scientific citing these as some of the many benefits you can get from a proper howler:

 

1. It boosts the immune system

When we laugh, the brain releases dopamine – a neurotransmitter that produces feelings of happiness, which, in turn, helps decrease stress hormones.

 

This reduction of stress hormones may result in higher immune system performance.

 

2. Relieves pain

By laughing, natural feel-good chemicals (endorphins) are released, which have been shown to reduce the sensation of pain. Interestingly, temporarily relieving pain increases your tolerance to pain.

 

3. Protects and improves cardiac health

Research from the University of Maryland Medical Centre adds that regular hearty laughter improves the function of blood vessels and increases blood flow. This can help protect against heart attack and other cardiovascular problems.

 

Furthermore, mirthful laughter – joyful laughter associated with humour – is found to have positive effects on circulating arterial blood pressure, with it being shown to significantly decrease blood pressure, almost immediately.

 

4. Strengthens relationships

Laughing has many social benefits. Whether with romantic partners, friends, family or co-workers, laughter can strengthen relationships, enhance teamwork, defuse conflict and tension and promote bonding.

 

So, how often does science say you should you be laughing? 

 

Harvard Mahoney Neuroscience Institute suggests we aim for good hearty laughter once a day… with gusto!

 

But it’s difficult to predict when the next big laughing bout may come. And we can’t always find the funny side of everyday life? Or can we? 

 

Mental health and wellness site, Helpguide.org says yes and recommends practicing simulated laughter. 

 

It’s possible to laugh without experiencing a funny event and simulated laughter can be just as good for us as the real thing – writes the site.

 

Adding simulated laughter into your life

Stop taking yourself… and life… so seriously. Use these simulated laughter techniques from the Journal of Psychology and Clinical Psychiatry to reclaim your inborn light-hearted side and begin seriously laughing again.

 

Laughter releasers help rescue blocked or captive laughter

 

  • Hold-on laughter – hold your breath, then burst out laughing when you can’t hold it in any longer

  • Gradient laughter – fake a smile; giggle, then laugh slowly and gradually increase in tempo and volume

  • Warm up to laughter with music and arts 

  • Singing laughter – sing karaoke, play funny music or dance to it

  • Arts laughter – partake in crazy dancing, funny choreography moves or laughter choirs 

  • Electronic laughter stimulated through mobile apps, voice shapers and synthesized laughter technologies

  • Computer laughter – use laughter apps, electronic mirrors or funny cameras

  • Passive laughter – watch or listen to recorded laughter

  • Use floor exercises to let go and laugh with a partner

  • Head on belly laughter – with your partner seated behind you, place your head on their abdomen and try to bounce it on their abdomen while both of you are laughing. Swap positions.

  • Rowing laughter – sit on the floor and wrap your legs around the waist of your partner seated in front of you (you may have a child join in). Be very close as you row an imaginary boat in synchronicity while you all laugh.

 

With that said… 

 

What did the baby corn say to mama corn? 

 

Where is popcorn?

 

Yes, we know it’s corny, but we think it’s an a-maize-ing joke.

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