Laughing makes people feel good for a reason. Studies have shown that laughter boosts the immune system and triggers the release of pleasure-inducing neurochemicals in the brain. The immune system, which contains special cells that are responsible for defending the body against infection, have been shown to increase during the act of laughing. In the central nervous system, the brain releases powerful endorphins as a result of laughing. Endorphins are natural, morphine-like compounds that raise the pain threshold, produce sedation and induce euphoria (commonly called a “natural high”.)
It seems that there really is more than a little truth in the old adage ‘laughter is the best medicine’. Scientific studies around the world are continuing to prove that, apart from making us feel good, laughing actually does us good as well – and can actually significantly increase our life span class=”img-ref” style=”display: block;color:#9b9b9b;font-style:italic;font-size: 15px;text-align: center;” class=”img-ref” style=”display: block;color:#9b9b9b;font-style:italic;font-size: 15px;text-align: center;”. Pre-school children laugh or smile between 300 and 400 times a day. By the age of 35, this drops to about 18 times. Why have we lost our sense of humour, and what can we do to put more laughter into our lives?
Old-time comedian Milton Berle once said, “Laughter is an instant vacation.” Berle spoke the truth. When you laugh aloud, you can’t be anxious, sad, angry, or even just blah. Laughter is pure joy; but it is more than that. Laughter is good medicine. (Conversely, being grumpy is bad medicine!) Since ancient times, people have understood the connection between a merry, jovial heart and good health. Studies show that laughter and a good sense of humor can literally ward off or at least diminish diseases.
Laughter is a potent endorphin releaser. One of the most recent studies on laughter shows that laughing with others releases endorphins in the brain—our homegrown feel-good chemicals—via opioid receptors. The more opioid receptors a given person has in their brain, the more powerful the effect. Highly addictive opioid drugs, like heroin, also bind to those receptors, suggesting that laughter induces euphoria not unlike a narcotic (minus the obvious drawbacks).
Laugh more. Laughing has been proven to have health benefits. It increases blood flow and immunity. Laughter is good medicine. I was just told about a doctor who’s prescription for people who are always tired is laughter. And the person who told me about it isn’t tired anymore and is so much happier! Aromatherapy is a great way to help reduce stress, and not just essential oils. Just the smell of coffee in the morning can reduce stress hormones. (Incidentally organic tea or green tea actually has a chemical in it that helps relieve anger. Add some honey to it and it will help to naturally moisturize your skin.