Postdate: 21 July 2016
A laughing fit every now and then can help to reduce stress and worries. Laughter has many advantages: your muscles relax, the stress hormones adrenalin and cortisol reduce, it lowers your blood pressure, and your immune system gets a boost.
Laughter is regulated by the limbic system in our brain. When you laugh, your body makes dopamine and endorphins, which give you a feeling of happiness. The louder you laugh, the more happiness substances are made. Sometimes, your body makes so many of these substances that you, for a moment, lose control over your emotions and muscles. This is better known as having a laughing fit or uncontrollable laughter. One of the characteristics is that you cannot stop laughing.
Laughter therapy and laughter yoga is a form of meditation from India. Laughter can actually make you more relaxed: by laughing uncontrollably, there is no room for worrying thoughts. You first start with stretching and breathing exercises. Then you begin with smiling, which is 'scaled up' more and more until you are in a fit of laughter. You end the session with a moment of silence so you can reflect on the effect of laughter on your body. You can do a laughter session in the morning, or together with colleagues to create more fun in the workplace. And laughter is also a way of connecting to others: people like to share their joy by laughing. Someone who smiles and laughs radiates sympathy and happiness. People who smile and laugh a lot are often more appreciated and perceived as being friendlier.
If you are not yet convinced that laughing more often is good for you: a smile takes up no time at all and has a positive effect on your own mood. You also burn more calories when you laugh then when you don't laugh. The answer to the question of whether smiling and laughing is healthy is a wholehearted 'yes!'.
'The most wasted of all days is the one without laughter'