In the last two decades, extensive research all over the world has shown that Laughter has a positive impact on various systems of the human body. Laughter helps to unwind the harmful effects of stress, the number one killer in the world, today. Stress causes the most number of illnesses in today’s world – heart disease, high blood pressure, depression, anxiety, frequent cough and cold, insomnia, allergies, asthma, menstrual troubles, peptic ulcer, fibromyalgia, tension headaches. Stomach upsets, and even cancer, are somewhat related to stress. It has been scientifically shown that laughter lowers the blood pressure, relaxes muscles, improves blood circulation, increases oxygen level in the body, elevates mood, brings hope, enhances communication and most importantly, it boosts the immune System, the master key for maintaining good health.
Watch out for any of the following symptoms, as it could be an indicator of any, or some of the above illnesses:
Frequent headaches with tender temples, nagging ache at the base of the Neck, lethargy and constant fatigue, frequent cough and cold, stomach knots; nausea and indigestion; irritable bowels for constipation, muscle tension with backache and neck pain, difficulty in falling asleep, waking early; breathlessness, bouts of dizziness, light-headedness, increase/decrease in aAppetite, increased smoking or drinking, loss of sexual drive, frequent mood swings, feeling of isolation, lack of self-worth, frequent memory lapses, poor decision-making abilities; irritability and aggression, difficulty in concentrating on and allotting priorities, suicidal tendency
Laughter provides Stress Relief
Laughter is one of the finest, most economical and easy-to-practice anti-stress measures. Laughter is one of the best muscle-relaxants. Laughter expands blood vessels, and sends more blood to the extremities and muscles all over the body. A good bout of Laughter also reduces the levels of stress hormones Epineprine and Cortisol. Laughter can be said to be a form of dynamic meditation or relaxation.
Laughter Yoga as Eustress Or Stress Buster
Hans Selye described laughter as a form of Eustress. This means that it is a positive, life-enhancing type of stress. Laughter has a built-in balancing mechanism that encourages the two-step action of stimulation and relaxation, due to the release of the chemicals – Adrenaline, and Noradrenaline. This produces a feeling of wellbeing, by relieving the minor stresses and strains of daily life. Laughter reduces anxiety, tension and depression. Thus, laughter helps in mitigating several serious diseases such as hypertension, heart disease, diabetes, in which anxiety and tension are predisposing factors.
Kay Herth (American Journal of Nursing 1984) has documented reduction of Hypertension after Laughter Therapy. Many of our members have reaped the beneficial effects of laughter in reducing hypertension, heart disease, diabetes, anxiety, insomnia, etc.
Now modern medicine is proving this with research that has shown that Smiling and Laughing cause physiological changes in the human body. After a bout of Laughter, it is observed that there is a reduction in Cortisol, a chemical that indicates Stress in the body, and an increase in mood elevating Endorphins. Laughter is also thought to improve Circulation, stimulate the Nervous System, heighten the immune system, and make the heart stronger.
Laughing releases the tension of pent-up feelings and can help us keep things in perspective. Laughter is one of the body's safety valves, a counter balance to tension. When we release that tension, the elevated levels of the body's stress hormones drop back to normal, thus allowing our Immune Systems to function more effectively.
Dr. Robert Holden, tells us in his book "Living Wonderfully": "Social psychology research shows that children laugh on average 150 times a day; adults laugh on average only six times a day.During an average day, a child will smile 400 times; an adult will smile no more than 15 times." When we grew up, somehow we lost over a hundred laughs and hundreds of smiles a day. By learning to smile and laugh again, more easily and more often, we could make profound and positive effects to our health and well being.
Laughter Yoga and Chronic Stress
Chronic stress lasts for a long time or occurs frequently. It is potentially damaging. Family problems, a difficult class at school, a schedule that is too busy, or a long illness can cause Chronic Stress. Nowadays, chronic stress is one of the primary causes of most of diseases. There are many ways to control chronic stress, like exercise, proper diet, time management, adequate rest, and relaxing hobbies. Laughter Yoga is the most economical, less time consuming, fun exercise which is easy to learn. Anyone can do it. All you need is little time and commitment.
Gelotology is the study of humor and laughter, and its effects on the human body. It is also the psychological and physiological study of Laughter. The word geloto is derived from the Greek gelos and it means Laugh, Laughter, laughing. The word Gelotology is often misspelled as Gelatology. There is well documented and ongoing research in this field of study.