Laughing. Laughing is probably one of the most enjoyable things to do no matter who you are. It gives us a happy feeling and allows us to loosen up and feel lighter, but are there actually benefits to laughing? Tomorrow is the non-official holiday Moment of Laughter Day, so in honour of this holiday that should be made official, I would like to share with you all why laughing is so awesome and how you can do more of it (because let’s face it, we should be laughing more)
Just a heads up, this is a longer post than usual. I hope you enjoy it!
First, let’s take a look at the health benefits:
Increases beneficial hormones
Laughter has been shown to increase the number of endorphins and neurotransmitters in your body. “Studies have shown that a [person’s] threshold for pain is increased, making laughter, in a sense, a painkiller … An increase in neurotransmitters [also] means that your brain is able to function faster, make connections more rapidly, and comprehend situations and problems at a higher rate.” ( Organic Facts, 2019) Basically what this means is that laughter increases your pain tolerance by releasing feel-good hormones into the body. Laughter also, essentially, helps our brains function faster and better. Both our brain function and our happiness levels are vital to us, so if laughter is a way of keeping these levels up then laughing certainly sounds like a good idea.
Boosts the Immune System
On top of the above-mentioned health benefits, “it has been widely studied that laughter can stimulate antibody cells to develop at faster rates by changing the body’s chemistry through hormonal shifts. This increase in antibodies means that the body is able to fight off illness and infection easier.” (Organic Facts, 2019) So, according to scientific research, laughter is not only going to improve your brain function, but it will also help you fight off illnesses and stay healthy in general. They say that laughter is the best medicine, but sometimes we tend to think that that is just doctors trying to make us feel better. Clearly, that isn’t the case – laughing is basically like taking vaccinations and vitamins, and it is way more fun than swallowing pills and getting injections. (Just to be clear though, laughing more doesn’t mean that you can stop getting your vaccinations and taking vitamins, because those are still good for you, but laughing can improve your resilience against sickness).
Wait what? How can laughing be exercise? Well, “when you engage in laughter, whether it is a giggle or a guffaw, muscles are used to create that movement. Laughter engages the body’s diaphragm and abdominal muscle systems…” (Organic Facts, 2019) While laughing, which is why you can sometimes feel so tired or sore if you have been laughing for a while. Also, “depending on your laughing style, and how physically engaged you become, you can work out your legs, back, shoulders, and arm muscles …” (Organic Facts, 2019). No, this is not an excuse to skip gym but laughing more is another way to get your muscles working and your heart rate up, which is always good for you no matter which way you look at it (even though I would really love it if I could laugh enough to compensate for not going to the gym).
Earlier we said that laughing improves your brain function, but it can also help you improve your memory specifically. “The connections and associations that the brain forms while ‘learning’ can be widened and made more complex by combining basic learning with an emotional response like laughter or humor. Varying the levels of association with different parts of our brain, remembering facts and recalling details is easier because there are more linkages present …” (Organic Facts, 2019). To put it more simply, let me pose a question for you: do you remember things clearly when that memory was made when you were happy or in a good mood? Usually, that answer is yes. This is because of what I have just quoted. Laughing allows us to widen our ways of learning while also giving us the ability to remember things more because of the links/connections that we create in our brains. If I had known this a few months ago, I would have spent more time laughing while studying for my finals if I knew it would have improved my memory and I’m sure that you are feeling the same way. So keep this in mind for the future.
This one may seem quite obvious. Laughing is a result of being happy, so duh, of course, it improves your mood. The very first point made was that laughter increases our endorphin levels and basically, endorphins make you happy. Even if you aren’t laughing ‘honestly’, the brain will still be triggered by the physical action of laughing and will release the necessary hormones to improve your mood. (Organic Facts, 2019). On a less scientific note, laughing makes you feel lighter, more free and relaxed because usually, you laugh when you are having fun. This, of course, will enhance your mood so if you find yourself feeling a bit down and your mood is low, then get laughing, and you will start to feel those endorphins squishing all of those negative emotions and making you feel happy again.
So now that you know all of the scientific reasons why laughter is good for you, I’m sure you are super excited to get laughing. Laughing is a form of exercise; it is good for your health; it improves your brain and enhances your mood. Why do we not do more of it? Well, sometimes we don’t have time just to let loose and laugh, or sometimes we find it hard to laugh because we don’t have much to laugh about (or have people to laugh with). Don’t worry I am getting there. There is no way I would give you all of these benefits for laughing without giving you some methods to get laughing because that would just be rude and cruel. If you can’t find anything to laugh about, then here is a list of things that should make you laugh:
Watch funny videos
We all find some things more amusing than others, and we all have particular tastes and opinions about what is funny. My boyfriend, for example, loves watching people doing stupid things (like skateboarding off your roof and into your swimming pool) whereas I will find it funnier to watch a cat and a lizard interact for the first time. No matter what it is, these videos sometimes just make us laugh and so if you are looking for a laugh, try finding something to do that on YouTube. YouTube is filled with a plethora of funny videos, so whether you are into watching people doing stupid things or animals doing strange things, you will surely find it on YouTube. All you have to do is test the waters and discover what you find funny (if you haven’t already – if you have then get watching already).
Now for those of you who don’t know what a pun is, a pun is a play on words. It exploits the potential meanings of the word (in the form of wordplay) to be funny. Now being good at delivering puns is an art, an art which very few of us have yet to discover or be well-trained in. But sometimes the good puns are not what is actually funny. Sometimes it is the bad puns, the ones that are so bad, silly and stupid that you can’t help but laugh. They are so bad that you say to yourself “that’s not funny” while suddenly bursting into a fit of giggles. So if bad puns make you laugh as they do for me (honestly I am a sucker for puns, and most of my friends use this to their advantage) then Google some bad puns, and you’ll soon find yourself in a fit of laughter even if you don’t understand why.
Right alongside bad puns are dad jokes, even though sometimes dad jokes can be in the form of bad puns. The jokes that are just so cringey, so embarrassingly awful, that you think “how the hell is that even funny?” Well, that is why dad jokes are a sure-fire way to get you laughing. Here is an example for you:
What do you call a fake noodle?
Most people cannot resist laughing at these cringe-worthy jokes. So if you are in desperate need of a good laugh, I would highly recommend googling dad jokes and seeing how far you get. Another fun way to go through dad jokes is to Google You Laugh, You Lose. Dad’s Jokes Editions and watch the videos that come up. Sometimes you end up laughing more when you try and play along or even just by listening to the jokes being said out loud. Fair warning though, it is a lot harder not to laugh than you think (unless you are my dad. He just has an unbreakable poker face).
There is a whole movie genre for laughing! Comedies are meant to be funny, which means they are intended to make you laugh. If you feel like you could use some mood-lightening, then open up your laptop and find a favourite comedy to watch. Comedies are also an excellent way to get you laughing because they are quite mild humour, but they are also specially designed to be funny. The only problem is that we all have different ideas about what is funny. Personally, I love Adam Sandler movies when I need a laugh because he is just so funny and his comedic style appeals to me. If you don’t know who or what you like though, then Google top comedy movies and have a movie marathon. See which one pushes your buttons. Not only will you have discovered what kind of comedy movies you like but you will also probably be in stitches from all of those films one after the other. Win-win right?
Friends are quite great for a lot of things, and getting you laughing is one of them. This is because our friends know us so well that they are good at getting us to laugh and be happy when we are down in the dumps. Think back to the last time you spent some time with your friends – I’m sure that you will remember that you spent quite a bit of time laughing with them. That’s because our friends also help take the seriousness away from life and help us loosen up enough to laugh about even the most random things. So call up your friends, not only will you most likely get all of those health benefits from laughing but you will also get to spend time with some people who make you happy. How awesome does that sound?
Now as strange as this may sound, please bear with me. I learnt this trick when I was in Grade 7 at school when one of our teachers thought that we seemed stressed. Exams were around the corner so, to be fair, the stress wasn’t unjustified. She played us a YouTube video of babies laughing and I would be pressed to think of a time where I have laughed harder. There is just something about a baby’s laugh that is so pure and contagious that you cannot help laughing with it. If you ever feel like you are really down, and all of the tips mentioned above are not helping, then just listen to a baby laughing. I guarantee that it will at least get you giggling and from there, you are all set to level up into laughter.
So there you have it. Not only is laughing just fun to do and makes you feel good, but it actually has proven benefits for your mind and your body. I hope that you get to spend tomorrow (and all other days) feeling happy and free to laugh. Today, instead of asking what you find funny or any tips you have for laughing (you can leave these in the comments section if you want), I’d like to encourage all of you to post either your worst pun or dad joke in the comments section. We can see which one is the funniest before the next post on Wednesday. As always, I hope that you enjoyed this post. Don’t forget to like and subscribe if you haven’t already, and share with your friends so that you can laugh together.
Happy Moment of Laughter Day! (for tomorrow)
Lots of Love
Blondey on a Mission xxx
P.S. The scientific evidence I used in the first part of the blog was not information that I just had sitting in my brain. I got all of this information from the reference below so feel free to read the full article if you want to know more:
Organic Facts (2019), 10 Impressive Benefits Of Laughter by Meenakshi Nagdeve, Organic Facts, https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/other/health-benefits-of-laughter.html
[Date accessed 12/04/2019]