Benefits of laughing. Laughter is a physical and psychological response that humans, and some other primates, display. It is an instinctive, stereotypical vocalization and some think it helps both furred and furless monkeys in their social life, makes us feel part of a group and shows those around us we feel comfortable and in good company. Laughter can be contagious and unconsciously generates a positive assessment, which is why we get so many canned laughs in all television comedies.
In this sense, laughter has been the object of study for a long time, and with this article, you will learn about the benefits that laughing brings to our mood and emotional state.
But first, why do people laugh?
There is a neuron known as “mirror” that instinctively activates in our brain when we see that someone nearby is doing something specific. That way, we can’t help but smile or laugh when someone, especially if they belong to our bond, is laughing with pleasure.
In addition, the human being is empathetic by nature and, in its condition, is interacting with others. Laughter unites them, and the reason for their contagion is basically because of the presence of the “mirror neuron.” But it is not only activated by the presence of people around us. It is also possible to reactivate it by witnessing, for example, fits of laughter on television.
Several studies have been carried out that show that humans can laugh and that even animals have the same function. First of all, primates would be found, and then other animals such as rats and dogs that, in an environment of well-being and plenitude, seem to emit certain sounds that would reflect their joy.
What are the most common types of laughter?
With humans, there are different types of laughter, up to a total of 180 different kinds of laughter, a very positive fact if we consider that laughter works as a defense mechanism to free us from problems and stress. Some of the most common are:
It arises spontaneously but is uncomfortable. It can appear suddenly, either in the middle of a mass or in a conversation where it doesn’t make any sense, but it still just comes out.
The frank laugh
It is the one that appears natural, and the one that has the most benefits. It is the healthiest of all, and one of its major benefits is that it helps you relax optimally.
Laughter for commitment
It is the one that you just let go of so as not to look bad to someone. You don’t have the desire but the strength to make an appearance.
It is the most expressive. When it appears, we can hold our stomach as if it were going to come out of the mouth. We throw our heads back. We close our eyes with intensity, or even tears may come from our eyes.
The cynical laugh
It is used to laugh at others. It causes emotional pain, and no benefit derives from it. It is derogatory and harmful.
What are the benefits of laughing?
After experiencing laughter for several minutes, all people feel a positive and elevated state of mind, an optimistic vital attitude, a feeling of global relaxation, certain fatigue, frequently discomfort in the abdominal muscles, those of the face or those of the neck because of their contraction and intensified exercise and a greater closeness and sympathy towards the people with whom the laughter has been shared.
Besides this, we highlighted some other benefits below:
Physical benefits of laughter
- Relaxes the body.
- Supports the heart and circulatory system.
- Improves respiratory function and increases oxygenation.
- Supports the immune system.
- Has an analgesic effect because of the release of endorphins.
Psychological and social benefits of laughter
- Reduces anxiety and stress.
- Relieves symptoms of depression.
- Distract from worries and cut negative thoughts.
- Strengthens self-esteem.
- Helps to deal positively with everyday problems.
- Enhances intellectual abilities.
- It allows to strengthen relationships, increase trust and reinforce feelings of belonging, closeness, friendship, and love. They are predisposed to cooperation and solidarity.
- Facilitates communication between people.
- Helps prevent conflicts and reduce levels of aggressiveness.
These copious gains are observable in all types of ages and groups. However, the social group for which laughter therapy is most indicated is that of the elderly.
How to practice laughter?
Many people do not know it, but laughter is possible to practice if desired. Here are some tips that can help you:
1. Try starting with a smile if you have a hard time laughing, benefits of laughing
Even a fake smile can trick your body into feeling happier, and this can make it easier for you to laugh. Train yourself to smile while working, jogging, or even when you’re concentrating on reading a book. Make your reference face a pleasant smile.
2. Even a fake laugh can sometimes stimulate real giggles, benefits of laughing
If you’re alone at home or driving to work, try laughing a few times as realistically as possible. Even if you don’t find something particularly funny to laugh at, just making yourself laugh can start a healthy fit of laughter.
3. Search for “funny videos” in your web browser if you feel discouraged.
Click on the first thing that catches your eye. You can find everything from cute kids and silly pets to prank compilations. It probably won’t be long until you’re chuckling to yourself, and a laugh might not be far behind.
4. Take a break from your habits and watch something that will make you laugh now and then.
Even if your taste is more for drama or horror, if you’re lucky, you’ll find a comedy goldmine – something that will make you laugh every time you watch it, regardless of how many times it is.
5. Pay attention to the things that make you laugh, benefits of laughing
When you find something that makes you laugh, try looking for other similar things (for example, reading books or watching movies by writers you like, or going to see more live performances if you like them). As a bonus, if you find someone who has the same tastes in comedy, they will automatically have something to bring you together.
6. Avoid being self-conscious about your laugh, even if it is unique
As long as you’re laughing for the right reasons, there’s no reason to hold back when something makes you laugh. If your laugh stands out, it may make the people around you laugh even more.
7. It is more difficult to laugh if you surround yourself with people who bring you down. Benefits of laughing
Try as much as possible to spend time with people who make you feel good about yourself and have the same sense of humor.
8. While it’s great to spend time with people who make you laugh, sometimes you have to be the one to bring that energy. Benefits of laughing
Invite your friends and relatives to join you in a comedy show or hang out on the couch for a comedy movie. When they laugh, you will laugh too.
9. Learning to laugh at yourself is one of the fundamental differences between happy and depressed people. Benefits of laughing
Being able to turn awkward moments, mistakes, and flaws into opportunities to laugh will make these things less of an influence on you.
10. Avoid letting bad news overwhelm you, even if it’s difficult, benefits of laughing.
It is much more difficult to laugh if you constantly worry about serious things. Instead, try spending most of your time deliberately focusing on things that make you feel good or positive.
Now that you know the benefits that laughing brings to your mood and emotional state, you can exponentially practice laughter therapy strategies to improve your general mood.