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Laughing for a healthy life

When was the last time you actually laughed uncontrollably, till your tummy hurt and you were gasping for breath? Not sent a LOL or ROTFL but actually experienced it?

As we grow up, we are expected to become serious about life and for many, that means no more LOL in reality. A loud hearty laugh is often accompanied by embarrassment, met with raised eyebrows and looks of judgement from those around and you may even catch someone signalling to laugh softly. As a society, we don’t accept laughter in its purest form, but perhaps after getting to know the several physical and emotional benefits of laughter in this article, you would not hesitate to actively support laughing loudly.

Benefits of Laughter

1. Laughter reduces stress: Laughter reduces the level of stress hormones like cortisol, epinephrine (adrenaline) & dopamine, thus reducing the harmful effects of stress on the body and mind.

2. Laughter improves immune system: T-cells are a type of white blood cells which produce antibodies - body’s natural defense mechanism against disease. Studies have shown that laughter increases the number of T-cells as well as their effectiveness thus resulting in an increase of antibodies to fight off illness and infection more easily.

3. Laughter improves respiration: ROTFL affects your body the same way that a brisk walk would. The process of laughter causes us to use our respiratory system very quickly and strenuously for a short amount of time, thus improving our aerobic (heart and lung) capacity by expanding the oxygen consumption and increasing ventilation of the lungs.

4. Laughter protects the heart. Laughing heartily increases blood flow, which can help protect you against a heart attack and other cardiovascular problems.

5. Laughter increases blood oxygenation: Increased blood flow and oxygen consumption during laughter increases the amount of oxygen flowing to all parts of our body and to our brain. This increased oxygen to the brain helps in developing a better mental health and capability.

6. Laughter increases metabolism: LOL influences your body to burn more calories and lose weight! How? Well there are two reasons, laughter increases the blood oxygenation which helps our cells convert glucose into cellular energy (ATP) and secondly, it reduces cortisol, the stress hormone that tends to lower the metabolism rate and store fat in the mid-section.

7. Laughter can burn calories: This has been proven by a recent study where researchers examined 2 groups - one group was made to laugh through comedy, and other group was not. The group which laughed burned up to 10 calories in 10 minutes, as compared to those who did not laugh and did not burn any calories.

8. Laughter increases neurotransmitters: An increase in neurotransmitters means that your brain is able to function faster, make connections more rapidly, and comprehend situations and problems at a higher rate. Laughter releases the neurotransmitter dopamine, which serves as a reward for the brain, creates a sense of euphoria, and plays a pivotal role in our motivation.

9. Laughter can reduce pain: Laughing releases endorphins, the body’s natural painkillers, which can help ease physical pain. Research says that laughing helps reduce patients’ need for opioid painkillers. In another experiment, researchers found that laughter led to higher pain tolerance; people who laughed more felt less pain later. So, next time you want to pop an analgesic for pain, just try heartily laughing instead.

10. Laughter helps in catharsis: Laughter can help to relieve emotional pain, and sometimes even unconscious emotional pain. Laughter therapy is successfully used with trauma patients for catharsis. Laughter can also help to release emotions of fear & anger which are often the root cause of emotional distress.

11. Laughter can give you a high: On a chemical level, the endorphins produced by laughing bring about a feeling of well-being. Endorphins attach to the same receptors in our brain as opiates, giving you the same high as a drug without the negative side effects.

12. Laughter promotes creativity: Research shows that there is an increased creativity in test subjects who laugh often. By improving overall brain health and bolstering its natural support system, both hemispheres of the brain can work together more efficiently - so creativity has a place to foster and grow.

13. Laughter helps you live longer: According to a study published in the Psychosomatic Medicine, women with a strong sense of humor were found to live longer in spite of illness. Laughter helps keep overall stress and anxiety at bay, which automatically makes your life a lot longer.

Laughter is quintessential to our physical and emotional health and a critical aspect of our body’s healing process so let’s make LOL, ROTFL, FOMCL, ROTFLMAO, a reality!

My personal recommendation is to give yourself at least a daily dose of 30 mins belly laughter and take any opportunity to laugh as loudly and heartily. Bestinu uses laughter and many other unconventional training and coaching techniques to help you advance your personal growth, get in touch with your inner self and learn important professional and social skills.

PS: For those in minority in 2019 who are not aware of these abbreviations, here is your guide

  • LOL: Laugh out loud

  • ROTFL: Rolling on the floor laughing

  • FOMCL: Falling off my chair laughing

  • ROTFLMAO: go figure 😊


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