Laughter is the Best Medicine
A new British study reveals that hearty laughter can relieve pain by flooding the brain with soothing chemicals. In the study, volunteers were made to watch comedy clips from humorous TV shows like “Friends”, “The Simpsons” and “Mr Bean”. Simultaneously, their ability to cope with pain was analyzed. The researchers found that laughing for just 15 minutes increased tolerance to pain by about 10 percent.
Useful Types of Laughter
However, polite tittering does not help. You need to laugh in an unforced manner and relax yourself. This type of laughing from the belly usually happens when you are watching a funny TV show or when you are among others. The researchers also found increased pain tolerance in volunteers who attended a comedy show and laughed their hearts out.
Why Laughter is Good for You
Laughter releases endorphins which are the chemicals that give you a “buzz” when you do physical exercises like yoga, rowing, swimming, running etc. We exert ourselves when we laugh whole-heartedly and this exertion triggers the release of endorphins. These findings were recently published in a journal called Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences.
Popularity of Laughter Yoga
These findings are not surprising considering that laughter yoga is becoming popular all over the world. During a typical session, groups of people gather together, raise their hands and guffaw heartily for a few minutes. Yoga aficionados aver that laughter yoga alleviates stress, and promotes relaxation and well-being.
Social Benefits of Laughter
Besides promoting a feel-good feeling, laughter also seems to have social benefits too. Researchers say laughter helps group bonding and is thus a useful tool for social humans. Social laughter is contagious and promotes relaxation among individuals and groups. Researchers believe laughter brings humans together similar to group activities like singing and dancing. In fact, primates use laughter as a mechanism to promote social bonding.
Studies on Laughter
Experts say studying laughter is an exercise that dates back to at least 2,000 years. Aristotle and Plato were less concerned with the benefits accrued from laughing. Rather, they were concerned about its power to undermine authority.
Now that you have realized the immense physical, mental and social benefits of laughter, join a laughter club or group to heartily guffaw away your blues by releasing the feel-good endorphins. Here’s to happy laughing and your good health.