"Build a man a fire, and he'll be warm for a day. Set a man on fire, and he'll be warm for the rest of his life."
We believe in setting people on fire - metaphorically, of course - with truly useful knowledge. Hopefully you're laughing, or at least chuckling to yourself right about now, and if you are, it means I've already managed to touch your life in a positive way. Recent years have brought about increased interest in things like laughter yoga, laugh therapy, and many more; all based on the idea that laughter is hugely beneficial to our lives.
Our bodies need sleep, and if we don't get enough of it, it can affect our day, lead to stress and even depression. Unfortunately in today's world the pressure from work and family life can affect one's sleeping patterns, which leads to erratic sleep and even insomnia.
Scientific research in the field of sleep and insomnia is confirming that laughter can help improve our sleep patterns by relaxing the mind and body. It's even been shown to improve the effectiveness of insomnia treatments.
People are attracted to laughter, and if we're the cause of that laughter, we become that much more attractive. Relationships can be kept fresh and healthy with good humor, and in fact most divorces are a direct result of a humorless marriage.
Your heart is a muscle and, like any muscle in your body, it gets stronger and functions better when exercised. Regular laughter is like getting a gym membership for your heart. It increases vascular blood flow and the functioning of blood vessels, which results in increased oxygenation of the blood. This reduces the risks of a heart attack and boosts your cardiovascular health.
A British study shows how just 15 minutes of laughter can increase pain tolerance by around 10 percent as a result of endorphins being released in the brain. These endorphins cause something akin to a natural "high", leading to pleasant feelings of calm, as well as temporary pain-relief.
Another way laughter helps reduce pain is by diversionary tactics - tell someone in pain a good enough joke, and it'll help take their mind off the pain, even if for only a little while. For example, a study published in the Journal of Holistic Nursing reported that patients who were told jokes after surgery and before painful medication was administered perceived less pain when compared to patients who didn't get a dose of humor as part of their therapy.
Laughing triggers the release of the feel-good hormones called endorphins which instantly put us in a good mood, helping reduce depression. In fact, in a study published in Geriatrics and Gerontology International, it was found that laughter therapy reduced depression in elderly patients by inducing an feeling of well-being and improving their social interactions.
Have you had a good belly laugh lately? You know the kind I mean - the hold-your-stomache, doubled over laugh that leaves you breathless and your sides hurting? Believe it or not but your internal organs are actually getting a workout, especially your diaphragm, abdomen, respiratory and facial muscles, and even your shoulders. Your muscles become more relaxed, and you feel great afterwards. And best of all: it doesn't feel like a workout at all!
Research has shown that regular laughter actually helps boost the immune system by decreasing stress hormones and increasing anti-infection antibodies as well as T-cells in the blood. This helps ward off infections, fighting diseases like the common cold, or even cancer.
You probably had a favorite teacher at school. Chances are, they were your favorite because they managed to get you interested in the studies, got you involved and even helped you remember what you learnt. Most good teachers use laughter to get their lessons across, and for good reason. Laughter has a huge impact on our memory, level of alertness, and even creativity.
Ever felt like you would just combust from stress, only to be told a good joke? Did it feel like your laughter was increased ten-fold, and that all the stress just melted from your mind? Well, it's been proven over and over that laughter does in fact relieve stress, and you've probably experienced it countless times.
Certain stress hormones like cortison, dopamine and adrenaline are reduced by laughter, leaving you more relaxed for up to an hour. Even better: positive hormones such as endorphins as well as neurotransmitter levels are increased.