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7 Scientific Reasons Why We Should Laugh More

7 Scientific Reasons Why We Should Laugh More

We have all heard the phrase “laughter is the best medicine”; however very few of us know that this has actually been proven to be very much true. A good sense of humor and the ability to laugh can be beneficial for your health physically, emotionally and socially.

It is much cheaper than a trip to the doctor and works much better than any medicine out there, so why not give it a try?

Here are only a handful of reasons why it would be beneficial to anyone out there to develop your sense of humor:

1. It is linked to healthy function of blood vessels.

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Liver and vessels Posterior view

    Laughter triggers the dilation or expansion of the tissue that forms the inner lining of blood vessels, increasing blood flow. “It is conceivable that laughing may be important to maintain a healthy endothelium, and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease,” says principal investigator Michael Miller.

    2. It improves emotional health.

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      Laughter and humor trigger the brain’s emotional and reward centers, releasing dopamine, which helps the brain to process emotional responses and enhances the experience of pleasure; serotonin, which lifts moods; and endorphins which regulates pain and stress and induces euphoria.

      Laughter mimics the euphoric states experienced in communal music-making and dancing. Evidence suggests these states are associated with the release of endorphins.

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      3. It plays an important role in social interaction and bonding.

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        It has been hypothesized that laughter has been around long before humans begun to use speech. Therefore there are already instinctive social cues humans are aware of in a social situation.

        Laughter plays an important role in regulating conversation in humans and is also significant in facilitating social bonding between groups of individuals. A sense of humor is important in interpersonal communication and attraction, and an important component of social competence. A healthy sense of humor bonds friends and family and reinforces group identity. It can even be argues that laughter can promote a happier marriage.

        4. It makes you more attractive.

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          Studies have shown that men with a good sense of humor are found more attractive. In turn, men are more attracted to women who laugh at their jokes. It makes you more comfortable to be around in social situations, such as parties, allowing you to broaden your social circles. It is also argued that having a good sense of humor in a job interview increases your chances of getting hired.

          5. It lowers stress and anxiety levels.

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            Humor is described as an element of resilience and can allow you to put everyday problems in perspective, increasing your coping capabilities in difficult situations. It moderates the adverse effects of stress on health and promotes a positive mood to cancel out negative emotions. It helps to see the funny side in adverse situations. Genuine laughter is also contagious, so why not help improve someone’s mood by sharing a laugh with them?

            6. It strengthens the immune system.

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              Stressful experiences in everyday life suppress the immune system, from the simplest situations such as the car not wanting to start, increasing the risk of infectious illness and heart disease. A good sense of humor prevents stress from affecting the immune system, protecting you from disease.

              7. It beneficial to the respiratory system.

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                Laughter provides the fastest and easiest method of regulating breathing and flushing out the lungs. It leads to an immediate increase in heart rate, respiratory rate and oxygen consumption. Enthusiastic prolonged laughter rids the lungs of residual air and replaces it with fresh, oxygen-rich air. In simple terms, it allows you to breathe deeper, improving respiratory health especially for those with respiratory ailments such as asthma. It is so effective in fact, that Laughter Yoga has been developed. Laughter Yoga recharges the body and controls the mental state by regulating the flow of ‘life force’, inducing calmness, focus and energy.

                Featured photo credit: Emma Watson Laughing HD via hdwallpaper.freehdw.com

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                Elizabeth Andal

                Elizabeth is a passionate writer who shares about lifestyle tips and lessons learned in life on Lifehack.

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                Last Updated on June 20, 2019

                Science Says Guitar Players’ Brains Are Different From Others’

                Science Says Guitar Players’ Brains Are Different From Others’

                There’s nothing quite like picking up a guitar and strumming out some chords. Listening to someone playing the guitar can be mesmerising, it can evoke emotion and a good guitar riff can bring out the best of a song. Many guitar players find a soothing, meditative quality to playing, along with the essence of creating music or busting out an acoustic version of their favourite song. But how does playing the guitar affect the brain?

                More and more scientific studies have been looking into how people who play the guitar have different brain functions compared to those who don’t. What they found was quite astonishing and backed up what many guitarists may instinctively know deep down.

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                Guitar Players’ Brains Can Synchronise

                You didn’t read that wrong! Yes, a 2012 study[1] was conducted in Berlin that looked at the brains of guitar players. The researchers took 12 pairs of players and got them to play the same piece of music while having their brains scanned.

                During the experiment, they found something extraordinary happening to each pair of participants – their brains were synchronising with each other. So what does this mean? Well, the neural networks found in the areas of the brain associated with social cognition and music production were most activated when the participants were playing their instruments. In other words, their ability to connect with each other while playing music was exceptionally strong.

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                Guitar Players Have a Higher Intuition

                Intuition is described as “the ability to understand something instinctively, without the need for conscious reasoning” and this is exactly what’s happening when two people are playing the guitar together.

                The ability to synchronise their brains with each other, stems from this developed intuitive talent indicating that guitar players have a definite spiritual dexterity to them. Not only do their brains synchronise with another player, but they can also even anticipate what is to come before and after a set of chords without consciously knowing. This explains witnessing a certain ‘chemistry’ between players in a band and why many bands include brothers who may have an even stronger connection.

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                This phenomenon is actually thought to be down to the way guitarists learn how to play – while many musicians learn through reading sheet music, guitar players learn more from listening to others play and feeling their way through the chords. This also shows guitarists have exceptional improvisational skills[2] and quick thinking.

                Guitar Players Use More of Their Creative, Unconscious Brain

                The same study carried out a different experiment, this time while solo guitarists were shredding. They found that experienced guitar players were found to deactivate the conscious part of their brain extremely easily meaning they were able to activate the unconscious, creative and less practical way of thinking more efficiently.

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                This particular area of the brain – the right temporoparietal junction – typically deactivates with ‘long term goal orientation’ in order to stop distractions to get goals accomplished. This was in contrast to the non-guitarists who were unable to shut off the conscious part of their brain which meant they were consciously thinking more about what they were playing.

                This isn’t to say that this unconscious way of playing can’t be learnt. Since the brain’s plasticity allows new connections to be made depending on repeated practice, the guitar player’s brain can be developed over time but it’s something about playing the guitar in particular that allows this magic to happen.

                Conclusion

                While we all know musicians have very quick and creative brains, it seems guitar players have that extra special something. Call it heightened intuition or even a spiritual element – either way, it’s proven that guitarists are an exceptional breed unto themselves!

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                Featured photo credit: Lechon Kirb via unsplash.com

                Reference

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