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Laughter is certainly the best medicine, if these 11 benefits that it gives you are anything to go by. So go in for that belly-shaking laugh today!
The most beautiful jewel one possesses, is proud about, and is the single owner of, is his or her smile. The very pronunciation of this word extends our lips on both ends and reveals the hidden treasure trove of the thirty-two natural pearls-our teeth.
It is well said that a smile goes beyond a mile. The smile connects us with our inner thoughts and is the most expressive medium of communication. The toughest of our opponent can be won over by a simple and cheerful smile. It is the bridge to a happy ending of a romantic relationship while a caress for the newborn and children and an assurance of strength for the near and dear ones.
Smile and laughter are therapeutic. While the smile is a silent expression, laughter is a cheerful noisy ripple of the sound of bubbles involving the flexing of muscles on your face and a release of tightened energy. Today there are laughter clubs galore, promoting its therapeutic effect. As individuals we need to recognize the magical effect of this and use it for the good of our own wellbeing.
It is believed that an adult only smiles 20 to 50 times a day while children smile and laugh almost 400 times a day! A powerful medical aid that is most inexpensive, and an all-time healer, the smile has manifold therapeutic and positive functions which is definitely worth showcasing this jewel.
Endorphins are morphine like substances that are produced by the central nervous system and the pituitary glands. They are produced due to various human activities as in aerobic exercises or laughter and released into the blood stream. Endorphins prove their effectiveness in resistance to pain or the feeling of wellbeing after an achievement like working out at the gym, meditating, being appreciated or falling in love.
Our brain produces endorphins that is transmitted to our facial muscles to flash a smile. Counselors and psychologists advocate the encouragement or inducement of laughter in pain, so that endorphins are released and the feeling of wellbeing sets in, fighting pain.
The endothelium or the inner lining of our blood vessel has an important role to play in blood clotting, blood flow and blood thickening. They expand to increase the blood flow and are affected by the hardening of the arteries. In such a condition, the flow of blood is restricted to the heart, increasing the risk of a heart attack. The endothelium lining finds it easier to expand and increase blood flow with laughter. It is advised to practice laughter as an exercise every day to aid the endothelium.
Laughter is a physiological movement. The action or movement involves the contraction of facial muscles while throwing the head backwards and the jaw opening. In such a posture we tend to inhale more oxygen, which is sent to our tissues revitalizing us. One feels so restored and refreshed after a hearty laugh. Also, laughter is the best anti-aging medicine. One feels and looks younger with a smile.
A smile and laughter is considered as a muscular exercise. Researches have proved that a good laugh of fifteen minutes can easily burn upto 50 calories. It may not be really significant in weight loss, but laughter does make you feel more fit, by the loss of at least some calories and the various ways it increases wellbeing. It is therefore perceived in the medical field as a stepping stone to reduce weight. Hence make it a practice to watch a one-hour comedy show at least twice a week.
Our immune system is weakened with stress. Humor and effective laughter tends to optimize the immune system to fight off diseases. Hormones secreted due to stress block the immune cell. Laughter helps to increase the production of antibodies and aids in strengthening the immune system.
Laughter is a mood booster. Many a times we tend to procrastinate while doing work that tends to trigger boredom in us, but inevitably requires to be completed. At such times we need to invite humor to prep the forgotten energy. Laughter is contagious and healthier when spread amongst a group. Work burden is eased and a group stays united. As a mood lifter, returning to work after a laughter break may aid to relook at the same monotony of work in a different perspective with renewed energy and vigor.
A participative engagement of our brain keeps one alert and laughter is a powerful medicine. Exchange of good ideas take place in such networks and we start to think on different perspectives. Over a period of time induced laughter is replaced with spontaneous laughter. Laughter must be healthy and not indulged to hurt another or be sarcastic. It helps in promoting quality life, which means we are less burdened with unnecessary troubles. Share a laugh and invite others too and form a group to promote the wellness of a good laugh.
Sleepless nights take their toll upon us on the next day’s work schedule. Even worse, continuous sleepless nights can lead to insomnia. The pineal gland in the brain makes the hormone called melatonin that helps regulate the sleep-awake cycle. Melatonin secretions are high mid to late evening and drop early morning. Natural melatonin secretions slow down as age advances. Laughter is a recommended exercise to induce sleep especially in patients with chronic illness. Before bedtime it is recommended to watch a humor show on TV or a comedy film that will help to exercise and produce melatonin for good sleep and cut down on aided sleep supplements. Obviously laughter is the best medicine.
Stress levels can influence the cognitive and learning function of the brain. Secretion of cortisol or stress hormone is very high in older individuals and they find it difficult to sleep well. Also, their memory is affected due to secretion of a high level of cortisol. It is best recommended for such affected members to be in social groups and engage in mild social exchanges of high degrees of laughter, which will reduce stress and thereby the cortisol production too.
Studies have proven that parents of children affected with autism find that a smile can go a long way in helping them build a communicative connection. Smiles have a mirroring effect. This means when we smile at someone, even a stranger perhaps – they return the smile. Children affected with autism are helped to participate in two way conversations, understand social cues and gestures. Smiles are a productive aid when parents encourage their children to keep up such conversation when they smile and it means that it is a cue for the child to understand his/her expectation from the ongoing conversation. He/ She will readily participate with the expected required inputs.
Love and empathy are strong and positive emotions that promote altruistic deeds. When one engages in deeds of goodness, the wellness of expression is best expressed through the smile. A smile can speak a million dollars. A reward for a work well done no doubt elicits the happiest smile from within and also from all those who matter to us. Rational and Analytical skills are largely developed when the cortisol level is maintained at a healthy level. The flight situation is reversed when one deploys rational thinking in all situations with a spontaneous smile. The cortisol levels are well balanced in people who are involved in altruistic deeds and their smile and laughter is spontaneous.
Some parts of this article were previously published here.
Image source: Flickr, for representational purposes only.