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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 July 10, 2020

                How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

                How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

                We all have them—those hurtful, frustrating, offensive, manipulative people in our lives. No matter how hard we try to surround ourselves with positive and kind people, there will always be those who will disrespect, insult, berate, and misuse you if we allow them to.

                We may, for a variety of reasons, not be able to avoid them, but we can determine how we interact with them and how we allow them to interact with us.

                So, how to take control of your life and stop being pushed around?

                Learning to set clear firm boundaries with the people in our lives at work and in our personal lives is the best way to protect ourselves from the negative effects of this kind of behavior.

                What Boundaries Are (And What They’re Not)

                Boundaries are limits

                —they are not threats or ultimatums. Boundaries inform or teach. They are not a form of punishment.

                Boundaries are firm lines—determined by you—which cannot be crossed by those around you. They are guidelines for how you will allow others to treat you and what kind of behaviors you will expect.

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                Healthy personal boundaries help protect you from physical or emotional pain. You may also need to set firm boundaries at work to ensure you and your time are not disrespected. Don’t allow others to take advantage of your kindness and generosity.

                Clear boundaries communicate to others that you demand respect and consideration—that you are willing to stand up for yourself and that you will not be a doormat for anyone. They are a “no trespassing” sign that makes it very clear when a line has been crossed and that there will be consequences for doing so.

                Boundaries are not set with the intention of changing other people. They may change how people interact with you, but they are more about enforcing your needs than attempting to change the general behavior and attitude of others.

                How to Establish Boundaries and Take Control of Your Life

                Here are some ways that you can establish boundaries and take control of your life.

                1. Self-Awareness Comes First

                Before you can establish boundaries with others, you first need to understand what your needs are.

                You are entitled to respect. You have the right to protect yourself from inappropriate or offensive behavior. Setting boundaries is a way of honoring your needs.

                To set appropriate boundaries, you need to be clear about what healthy behaviors look like—what healthy relationships look like.

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                You first have to become more aware of your feelings and honest with yourself about your expectations and what you feel is appropriate behavior:

                • Where do you need to establish better boundaries?
                • When do you feel disrespected?
                • When do you feel violated, frustrated, or angered by the behavior of others?
                • In what situations do you feel you are being mistreated or taken advantage of?
                • When do you want to be alone?
                • How much space do you need?

                You need to honor your own needs and boundaries before you can expect others to honor them. This allows you to take control of your life.

                2. Clear Communication Is Essential

                Inform others clearly and directly what your expectations are. It is essential to have clear communication if you want others to respect your boundaries. Explain in an honest and respectful tone what you find offensive or unacceptable.

                Many people simply aren’t aware that they are behaving inappropriately. They may never have been taught proper manners or consideration for others.

                3. Be Specific but Don’t Blame

                Taking a blaming or punishing attitude automatically puts people on the defensive. People will not listen when they feel attacked. It’s part of human nature.

                That said, you do not need to overexplain or defend yourself. Boundaries are not open to compromise.

                Sample language:

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                • “You may not…yell or raise your voice to me…”
                • “I need…to be treated with respect…”
                • “It’s not okay when…you take things from my desk without asking…”
                • “I won’t…do your work…cover for you anymore…”
                • “It’s not acceptable when…you ridicule or insult me…”
                • “I am uncomfortable when…you use offensive language”
                • “I will no longer be able to…lend you money…”

                Being able to communicate these without sounding accusatory is essential if you want others to respect your boundaries so you can take control of your life.

                4. Consequences Are Often Necessary

                Determine what the appropriate consequences will be when boundaries are crossed. If it’s appropriate, be clear about those consequences upfront when communicating those boundaries to others.

                Follow through. People won’t respect your boundaries if you don’t enforce them.

                Standing our ground and forcing consequences doesn’t come easily to us. We want to be nice. We want people to like us, but we shouldn’t have to trade our self-respect to gain friends or to achieve success.

                We may be tempted to let minor disrespect slide to avoid conflict, but as the familiar saying goes, “if you give people an inch, they’ll take a mile.”

                It’s much easier to address offensive or inappropriate behavior now than to wait until that behavior has gotten completely out of hand.

                It’s also important to remember that positive reinforcement is even more powerful than negative consequences. When people do alter the way they treat you, acknowledge it. Let people know that you notice and appreciate their efforts.

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                Final Thoughts

                Respect is always a valid reason for setting a boundary. Don’t defend yourself or your needs. Boundaries are often necessary to protect your time, your space, and your feelings. And these are essential if you want to take control of your life.

                Start with the easiest boundaries first. Setting boundaries is a skill that needs to be practiced. Enlist support from others if necessary. Inform people immediately when they have crossed the line.

                Don’t wait. Communicate politely and directly. Be clear about the consequences and follow them through.

                The better you become at setting your own boundaries, the better you become at recognizing and respecting the boundaries of others.

                Remember that establishing boundaries is your right. You are entitled to respect. You can’t control how other people behave, but you do have control over the way you allow people to treat you.

                Learning to set boundaries is not always easy, but with time, it will become more comfortable. You may eventually find that boundaries become automatic and you no longer need to consciously set them.

                They will simply become a natural extension of your self-respect.

                Featured photo credit: Thomas Kelley via unsplash.com

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