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Happiness and Laughter : The benefits of going 'Haha!'

All of us know that happiness laughter is good. We've heard it being repeated over and over again about how laughter promotes good health, emotional well being and a better world. But sometimes just knowing this is not enough to drive a person to change their habits.

Many people know that laughing is great, but how many of them know how laughter specifically benefits them? How many knows why laughter can have such an effect on humans?

When people don't know the details and the workings behind something, they'll naturally be less convinced of it. It will be less likely for them to be sufficiently motivated by it to change their lifestyle.

happiness laughter

How Happiness and Laughter Works and Specifically Benefits Us

1. Connection of physiology & emotions

If I asked you to describe what a depressed person looks like, can you do it? It should be a piece of cake. Hunched shoulders, slouched posture, eyes looking down, frowning, no energy etc. The human body is wired this way. When you feel depressed, you’ll act/look this way. When you act/look this way, you’ll feel depressed. There is a physical neurological connection between the 2.

happiness laughter So similarly, we have a connection between happiness and laughter. When you’re happy, you make yourself laugh. When you laugh, you're making yourself happy.

In an experiment to test effects of laughter and smiling, clinically depressed people were asked to smile (without any reason for doing so) for a certain length of time everyday. This lasted for weeks. At the end of the study, all involved in the study reported feeling much happier as a result of it than they ever did in many years of treatment and medication.

What does this tell us? It tells us that how happy we want to be partly depends on how often we choose to laugh.

2. Medical benefits of laughter

There have been various medical studies made on the benefits of laughter. In fact, many doctors around the world encourage patients to rent funny movies, cartoons, listen to jokes etc to help in their recovery. Laughter is not just an external display of happiness, but within the body there are stuff happening too. Laugher triggers positive chemical and hormonal changes in the body. This is how it affects one's health.

Here's a list of how happiness laughter specifically benefits health :

Lower blood pressure – After the initial burst of laughter, our blood pressure drops to lower than usual levels. We also breathe deeper and fuller after a good bout of laugh.

Exercise - Laughter also is a good workout for your body. By laughing, you are exercising the various muscles in your body including the diaphragm, face, abdomen, chest/lungs and back. This is known to help several bodily functions including our digestion process. Laughter burns as much calories as a few minutes of 'real' exercises such as cycling etc. Now is that great or what?

Pain reliever & feel good factor - Laughter releases endorphins, which is a natural pain reliever and gives a sense of well being. It is known as the feel good hormone.

Stress reliever - Laughter releases pent up emotions. Stress, tension, worry, anger etc can be reduced through a good bout of laughter.

Brain Power - When you're laughing, it involves both hemispheres of the brain. This encourages a more balanced mental process especially in creativity and problem solving.

3. Perspective : Laughter puts you in a strong state to handle challenges

When you laugh, what you’re doing is telling yourself that you can handle the situation. Unconsciously that’s what you are telling your brain. While you’re laughing your brain thinks “Wait a minute, I’m laughing. That must mean that I can handle this. I guess things aren’t that bad after all”

happiness laughter This way we reframe our experience quickly. Instead of automatically labeling a situation a crisis, we’re calling it a laughing matter.

After all many things are not worth getting worried and upset over. It’s just part of life. It’s not the end of the world. By responding to challenges with laughter you are putting yourself in an empowered state to tackle whatever issues you’re facing.

When feeling stressed, angry etc, our judgment will often lack of accuracy and objectivity. We’ll tend to perceive things as being worse than it actually is. Laughter brings things back into perspective.

4. Philosophical viewpoint of happiness and laughter

Laughter encourages positive thoughts and feelings, and these have an impact on the body. I am a firm believer of the phrase 'What you think, you become'. Negative thoughts and self image creates dis-ease and illnesses, while laughter and positive thoughts regenerate and heals the body.

happiness laughter Thoughts are creative energies. Whenever we have a thought, it goes out to the end of the Universe and sets in motion events to make the thought a reality. Having a lifestyle filled with laughter attracts positive energy from the Universe. People who are similarly happy and positive will be naturally attracted to us.

When we can laugh at ourselves, we don't take ourselves too seriously. And at this point nothing that happens can affect our sense of self and personal confidence.

Final thoughts on happiness laughter…

With so many benefits and reasons to laugh, cultivate a lifestyle filled with smiles and laughter. It may be hard at first, but keep at it a while and this habit will be formed within you. So start today and laugh away!

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