Laughter is more than just a sound — it’s a whole body experience. 15 facial muscles contract, our breathing becomes irregular as we half-close our larynx, and even our tear ducts can become activated. Our muscles throughout our bodies contract, as laughter spreads from our face, through our respiratory system, and eventually through our entire bodies.
People usually laugh because they’re happy, but laughter also has the power to make us happy. Laughter releases endorphins, or neurotransmitters that have similar effects as drugs like morphine, which are responsible for feelings of euphoria.
Within our immune system, laughter increases the amount of T cells, which are the body’s natural defense against viruses, cancer cells, and other disease-causing cells. Levels of B cells, which make disease-destroying antibodies, and levels of Immunoglobins A, G, and M, which help fight infection, all rise. Laughter boosts the immune system, so it would be safe to assume that laughter makes us healthier.
Some researchers even suggest that laughing 100 times gives you the same workout as 15 minutes on an exercise bike. Laughing works the cardiovascular system and lowers blood pressure, so it’s like a cardio workout. It also increases memory and cognitive functioning.
The average adult laughs only 17 times a day. Many people believe laughter is contagious, and one person laughing can start others in a fit. If you’re feeling sick, lacking energy, or stressed, try a few rounds of laughter. It’s the medicine you don’t need a doctor to prescribe or a fancy exercise machine to complete.
Photo by Shimmerlings Jewelry