The Benefits of Laughter

by Tami Close on June 24, 2009 · 1 comment

By Tami Close

 

“Seven days without laughter makes one weak.”

 

 – Mort Walker

 

Common sense tells us that laughter is important to our well-being.  But did you know the benefits of laughter are scientifically proven?

 

The University of Maryland performed a study of 20 people with an average age of 33, who watched serious movies and comedies.  As you probably guessed, laughter rules! 

 

The results showed that laughter is linked to healthy function of blood vessels, and these vessels actually expanded in order to increase blood flow.  On the flip side, the blood vessels narrowed when the participants watched suspenseful films. 

 

Another study revealed that children laugh 100 times a day, and sometimes more.  But by the time we reach adulthood, we may only laugh a handful of times in a day.  I think something takes over our bodies when we reach adulthood, a sort of “Zombie of the Serious Kind,” which inhibits us from laughing. 

 

Have you ever heard of a laughter workout?  Look at these results of this study from the University of Maryland. 

 

The researchers examined the correlation between the blood vessels’ ability to expand (vasodilation ) and laughter.  If vasodilation is poor, it can increase one’s risk of heart attack and stroke.  There were 20 adults in this study and they watched clips of a violent movie and a comedy, and then had their vasodilation tested. 

 

I love that big word…vasodilation!

 

Again, you probably already know the results, but keep reading as there is something very interesting that the researchers discovered:

  1. Blood flow was significantly reduced (by about 35 percent) in 14 of the 20 volunteers who saw the stressful film
  2. Blood flow was significantly increased (by 22 percent) in 19 of the 20 volunteers who watched the funny movie

 

Now, here’s what is very interesting.  The blood flow experienced by most all the participants after laughing was equal to the improvements after a 15-30 minute workout! 

 

Does this mean we could avail ourselves of a laughter workout instead of going to the gym?  I’m thinking so.  When I have a good belly laugh, my abs actually tighten, and it only takes seconds to achieve this. 

 

All of this research illustrates how profound laughter is for the entire body.  With this said, we could all benefit from utilizing laughter on a continual basis, and recording our own results. 

 

Maybe you would even see a reduction of inches in your rear end as you laugh your butt off.

 

About the Author: Tami Close is a Healthy Lifestyle Coach, Speaker, Certified EFT Therapist, and author of the e-books How to Look Great Naked…with the Lights On; How to Have Great Ex, A Guide to a Great Relationship with Your Ex; Girls Gone Wifi, How to Have Fun with Online Dating.  Click HERE to find out more.

 

[Editor’s Comments:  I’m not sure I would skip a workout and just laugh instead, but there is no denying that laughter has a positive effect on your health – both mental and physical.

 

Whenever I’m feeling angry, stressed, or just a little blue, I usually check out some funny videos on Youtube.  Here’s one Tami shared to encourage us all to laugh every day:

 

 

After about 15 minutes of laughing, I usually feel a lot better and it helps me at work, with my family, during my workouts, etc.

 

Just last night, I saw first-hand the effect laughter and a positive attitude can have on people.

 

Here’s the story…

 

I’m helping coach my son’s baseball team again this year.  The season started out really rough for the kids (and the coaches).  Our record after the first 6 games was 0 wins-5 losses-1 tie.

 

The kids were frustrated, angry and sick of losing.  Their attitudes were extremely negative, they didn’t want to practice, and they were blaming each other for their mistakes instead of coming together as a team.  You could just tell from their body-language they were down.

 

Even my own son kept making comments like “We suck,” “I hate baseball,” and “We’re never going to win.”

 

We had to do something to make the game “fun” again.  So, for two straight practices we focused on everyone having a positive attitude.  We made up little competitions where the losers had to do pushups or run. Instead of getting serious and focusing on the negative, we got “goofy” and tried to make the kids laugh.

 

Guess what…

 

It worked! We won our first game last night! The kids had fun and laughed, and we played much better as a team. Now, they’re all excited about the rest of season and looking forward to our next game this Friday.  It’s amazing what a little laughter and a positive attitude (and a big WIN) can help you accomplish.

 

What about you? Do you have any stories about how laughter helped you when you were down, or any good jokes you’d like to share?  If so, leave us a Comment…we’d love to hear from you!]

 

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