Aside from being one of the best ways to spread joy to others, laughter is also a great way to release any emotional and physical tension we may be carrying.
Its benefits don’t end there, however.
According to aged care publication Australian Carer’s Guide, laughter is a great medicine as it can strengthen our immune system, improve our mood, diminish our pain, and protect us from the damaging effects of stress.
The guide says nothing works faster or more dependably to bring our mind and body back into balance than a good laugh.
When we laugh, not only are we helping ourselves but we may also be helping others, the guide suggests.
“Humour lightens your burdens, inspires hope, connects you to others, and keeps you grounded, focused, and alert. It also helps you release anger and forgive sooner.”
Its physical benefits are also impressive.
Fun, free and requiring little instruction, a good laugh even has the ability to boost our immune systems.
It also decreases stress hormones and increases immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies, in turn helping improve our disease resistance.
If indulged frequently, such merriment can also improve the function of blood vessels and increase blood flow, which can help protect us against a heart attack and other cardiovascular problems.
Global media company Forbes describes says laughter is “a potent endorphin releaser” that also has the ability to heal and renew.
It cites recent studies on laughter that show that as well as anecdotal evidence, there are also numerous science-backed reasons why we should all be laughing more.
For example, were you aware that having a good giggle with others released endorphins in our brains via opioid receptors? The more opioid receptors we have in our brains, the more powerful the effect. Forbes argues having a physical reaction to something we find funny also helps foster brain connectivity.
There are many different types of laughter – including the noise we make when we are tickled, the sound we release when told a joke and the joy we express when fooling around with others.
What this means in real terms is that our brain connectivity kicks in when we hear a laugh, as our brains attempt to work out what sort of communication is coming through.
Looking at the funny side of life can also offer us the chance to put our problems into perspective and enable us to move on from confrontations.
Best of all, laughter helps draw us closer to others, which can have a profound effect on all aspects of our mental, physical and emotional wellbeing.
“The endorphin effect… also explains why social laughter is so contagious. Spreading endorphin release through groups promotes a sense of togetherness and safety. Each brain in a social unit is a transmitter of those feeling, which triggers the feel-goods in other brains via laughter. That’s why when someone starts laughing, others will laugh even if they’re not sure what everyone is laughing about,” Forbes says.