As we get older, life becomes a bit more stressful. We have bills to pay, targets to hit and houses to keep clean (and warm).
📰 Consuming bad news
Breaking news notifications are instant and commentary is everywhere on social media. We’re surrounded by bad news which makes it less likely to have a good ol laugh.
💬 Technology > IRL
With the growth of digital connection, we’re communicating with friends and family through text rather than in person. The 😂 has replaced the actual IRL laughs. We’re actually 30x more likely to laugh when we’re with friends than on our own.
The laughter deficit has lead to the growth of laughter therapy classes such as laughing yoga. We’re actually paying to sit in a room and start laughing. And why do we think that is? Because there’s a lot of benefits to having a laugh.
So what are the health benefits of laughter?
Here’s 7 health benefits of having a good laugh with friends.
1. Releases ‘happy hormones’ to boost your mood
Probably the most obvious one. Laughing elevates your mood and happiness by increasing the release of endorphins which promotes feeling of happiness. It also sparks dopamine and serotonin release, which are two neurotransmitters involved in making you feel happy and motivated.
2. Reduces cortisol levels to reduce stress
Laughing triggers the release of endorphins, which are natural chemicals that reduce the production of stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline. This helps balance cortisol levels and makes you feel less stressed. The more you laugh, the less stressed out you'll feel.
3. Acts as a natural painkiller
“If I don’t laugh, I’ll cry” is a common coping mechanism for us. And it actually works. Laughing triggers the release of endorphins, which are natural painkillers that can alleviate physical pain and discomfort. So if you’ve grazed a knee or gone through a break up - try and laugh it off.
4. Improves immune system
When we laugh, our bodies produce more antibodies and activate T-cells. These cells help fight off infections and diseases, making you less likely to get sick. So, the next time you're feeling under the weather, try watching a funny movie or having a giggle IRL.
5. Relaxes the whole body
A proper belly laugh relieves physical tension and stress in the body. It can leave your muscles relaxed for up to 45 minutes. You know that relieving ‘aahh’ feeling after you’ve laughed with friends - that’s your body relaxing.
6. Makes you smarter and more creative
When we’re happier, we’re smarter. So having someone in the office who brings the laughs and scheduling in time during your day to have a giggle might actually make you smarter and more creative.
7. Improves cardiovascular health
Laughter increases blood flow and oxygenation, as well as stimulating the production of nitric oxide, a molecule that helps relax blood vessels and lower blood pressure. It can also reduce the stiffness of your arteries which reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
7. Increases life expectancy
A recent study found that people with a strong sense of humour outlived those who don't laugh as much. So by laughing a lot, you might just live a bit longer!
So the next time you go to type the 😂 emoji, why not use that as a trigger to book in some real face to face time with your friends. Because it’s likely most of the times you’ve cried laughing is when you’re phone-free.