Like we have always been told, laughter is indeed the best medicine. The facts that you laugh your heart out when you are happy and you feel extremely good after getting all cracked up hints that laughter is actually good for your body and mind. Ruling out nervous laughter and fake laughter, all the other kinds of laughters are healthy for your body. But there’s another old saying that too much of anything is bad and this rule applies for laughter as well. Sorry for the mood killer but too much laughter can cause you health issues like “heart rhythm disturbance, fainting, burst gullets, dislocated jaws and even burst lungs (1).” However, these issues occur very rarely and it’s not something you should worry about.
Coming back to the extremely bright side of laughing, it has many health benefits that’ll make the problems associated with it look like a tiny little fruit fly. Laughter soothes tension, stimulates your organs, and relieves your stress response instantly. In the long run, laughter improves your immune system, relieves pain, improves your mood, and increases personal satisfaction by helping you connect with people (2). Are you eager to know more about what actually happens to your body when you laugh a lot? Read on to know more.
1. Laughing Can Help You Lose Weight
Did you know that you can shed calories by just laughing? A heartful belly laugh can burn up to 100 calories per hour and continuous chuckling can burn about 20 calories per hour (3)! Isn’t that quite interesting? Who would have thought sitting home all day and watching your favorite sitcom or standup comedian can actually burn calories? So, the next time someone asks you to get up your lazy butt and go for a walk, tell them that you’re burning calories the most fun way (Just kidding – get up that heinie and go walking!).
2. Laughing Too Hard Can Make You Cry
No, this isn’t what it sounds like. There’s no practical explanation to the common beliefb— if you laugh too much you’re going to get hurt and cry soon. But what’s possible is that you’ll end up crying or having teary eyes when you laugh too hard. Haven’t you ever laughed or seen anyone laugh so much that their eyes start watering? Don’t worry, these are happy tears! Apparently, this is a mechanism of our body that initiates negative responses to extremely positive situations in order to achieve emotional equilibrium (4).
And it isn’t just applicable to funny situations. When a mother sees her baby for the first time, a wife reunites with her soldier husband or teen girls when they see Justin Bieber live at a concert — they all cry! This is how the body balances the extremity of their happiness. Another reason why your eyes water when you laugh too hard is because of the pressure exerted on your tear ducts (5).
3. It Can Improve Your Threshold For Pain
When someone is upset or hurt, we talk to them and probably say funny things to make them laugh. And if we are successful in getting them cracked up, you’ll find an instant splash of happiness on their face and they’ll feel much better, right? Now, this has a scientific explanation. According to a research study that was supported by the British Academy Centenary Research Project, laughing can improve your threshold for pain (6). So if you are upset or sick, just switch on the TV and start watching your favorite comedy movies!
4. It Makes Some Of Your Muscles Weak
Have you ever heard of cataplexy? It is a sudden loss of muscle control and is mostly trigged by extreme pleasant emotions like laughter. The other triggers include excitement, surprise, fear, or stress. During a mild cataplexy attack, the muscle weakness is barely visible but during severe episodes, the person may experience a total body collapse. All this happens just for a few seconds and up to a maximum duration of two minutes. So, you’ll barely know if you’ve had an episode. Also, it’s important to note that only a few people experience cataplexy (7).
5. Laughing Makes Your Brain Healthy And Happy
A study conducted by Loma Linda University in Southern California found out that there was a strong positive connection between memory and laughter. It lowers the level of stress hormone and improves your mood as well. Laughing is like exercise for your brain (8). It also releases the “feel good” neurotransmitters— dopamine, serotonin, and an array of endorphins (9).
6. Laughing Helps You Bond With Others
The same endorphins that we discussed above, helps us bond with other people and make social connections. According to research, they help promote the “feeling of togetherness.” Now you know why people laugh more make friends faster and why laughter is considered contagious (10)!
7. Your Body Exercises When You Laugh
According to research, laughter yoga imposes a high demand on your trunk muscles. It makes a lot of your body muscles move and that’s how laughing becomes a great exercise for your body (11).
Now you know about the amazing and not so amazing changes that occur in your body when you laugh too much. So, go ahead, switch on your TV and laugh your heart out. Let all the stress and sadness melt away!
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