By Marian Connor
I was thinking about laughter. Nature created us to laugh because in doing so we enhance feelings of happiness and wellbeing. Laughter has the ability to bond humans together, it gives a sign we mean no harm. Well unless you’re a cackling rotter from a film about to do evil.
Laughter is a non-verbal expression of emotion requiring harmonious activity between the left and right hemispheres of your brain.
Apparently we are 30 times more likely to laugh in the company of others we care for, that’s real people, Skype and FaceTime doesn’t count, laughter binds us together.
I think I must be very well bonded with myself because I frequently manage to laugh throughout the day at the absurdity of life, but mostly with the ridiculousness of myself.
Some emotions such as disgust and surprise are culture specific. The only emotion universally recognised by all cultures is laughter. Even though the cause of that laughter varies greatly amongst cultures and people, one man’s meat really is another man’s poison. But the effect of laughter won’t poison anyone it’s beneficial across all senses of humour.
Laughter boosts levels of antibodies and endorphins which act as natural pain killers. When we laugh we are less able to control muscle movement around the ribcage which exerts a force on the ribcage and larynx. This causes the release of endorphins which act like an analgesic, something common with most forms of exercise. As a result the pain threshold rises. Laughter therapy has proved useful after injuries or medical procedures.
Laughter helps regulate our stress hormones as it causes an immediate decline in cortisol and adrenaline. The positive effect remains in the body for several hours after the laughter took place. A sense of humour is a good weapon against stress.
Laughing helps regulate dopamine. Excesses will detrimentally affect mood, motivation and learning.
Laughter increases oxygen intake and decreases pressure within blood vessels. All sounds good to me. But some people find it hard to find laughter, maybe because it can make us feel vulnerable, it forces us to step outside our comfort zones and let go.
Possibly because some people lack humour awareness they find it difficult to allow themselves to be open to situations that create laughter or to perceive the humour in the chaos we refer to as life.
Bear in mind that being open to humour doesn’t always result in laughter but just smiling will have positive effects on our body.
The Facial Feedback Hypothesis means that facial movement can influence emotional experience.
“We don’t laugh because we are happy, we are happy because we laugh.”
Today there are so many books available telling us how to enhance our lives, how to be happy, sharing the top 10 tips to cure all of life’s ills. Some of which will work for some people but all require an amount of commitment and effort on our part to transform ourselves which can be a useful tool to enhance our living experience.
But laughter it’s instant. No need to examine, apply or resolve anything, you laugh, you feel better, simples!
We were more in touch with the power of humour and laughter as children before life knocked us about and knocked some of the joy out. Pre-schoolers have been shown to laugh 300-400 times a day, adults are lucky if they manage 20. Whatever we have lost to result in this, could we try to rediscover it? Embrace that child within, encourage our playful selves to take spontaneous pleasure and delight in life, in doing so we will smile which encourages smiling in those we meet making us more attractive and approachable. Being open to laughter will serve you well.
“The reluctance to put away childish things may be a requirement of genius.”
Rebecca Pepper Sinkler
“Seriousness is a disease.”
Here are two jokes that tickled me. They might not be your cup of tea but I’m just sharing.
Mrs Feinbaum is walking down the street with her two sons. A passer-by asks her how old they are. “The doctor is three” says Mrs Feinbaum, “And the lawyer is two.”
By Mike Nichols and Elaine May
If we have whet your appetite for further discovery, keep in mind that we create interactive experiential workshops and events embracing the 8 elements, exploring a myriad of ways to enhance your happiness and health. Oh yes and let’s not forget these are beautifully packaged with individually created accoutrements for your delectation. All delivered by us, in a delicious way.
If you haven’t already read our introduction to the 8 Elements, why not check out ‘The Alchemy of 8′.
Image Tile/Header- Drawing of Mickey Laughing
YouTube clip – The Chase ITV1 Bradley Walsh can’t stop laughing
YouTube clip – Laurel and Hardy Laughing Scene
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