Category Archives: Did you know ?

Laughter with benefits: the consciousness perspective

BrainAbstract
Abstract representation on the brain

The main physical benefits of laughter have been presented in a previous post. If that was not enough laughter comes with even more benefits.

Changes your perspectives: laughter allows you to see things in a different light by giving you a more lighthearted perspective. It does not change the circumstances, but it changes how you perceive them. It diverts negative feelings such as stress, anxiety, fear or boredom by triggering positive emotions such as happiness, well being or good mood. When life brings you challenge you are emotionally more flexible and resilient to overcome them. When I started to work as a bilingual client service representative, I had from time to time, in the early stages of a conversation, clients who told me with a rough tone of voice:” I don’t like your accent, I want to speak to someone else.” On the first few occurrences, I felt quite upset and out of sorts. I decided to shift my perception in this situation. I committed myself to laugh Instead. When the same situation occurred again, I put the person on hold to find the next interlocutor. During this time, I sent an instant message to my whole team including my team lead and manager: “I need to transfer a client to an Anglophone representative, with absolutely no French accent. In return I will, to whoever takes this call, help you by speaking French with no English accent.” I had fun writing this instant message, and along with making my colleagues laugh, I had more helpers than I needed to take those calls.

Improves your cognition: after a joyous laughter session, your creativity increases, your problem-solving ability improves and so does your memory. According to a study presented in April 2014 in San Diego, California, a joyous laughter produces  frequency waves in the brain similar to the ones experienced by people who meditate. This process is well explained: “When there is mirthful laughter, it’s as if the brain gets a workout because the gamma wave band is in synch with multiple other areas that are in the same 30-40 hertz frequency. This allows for the subjective feeling states of being able to think more clearly and have more integrative thoughts. This is of great value to individuals who need or want to revisit, reorganize, or rearrange various aspects of their lives or experiences, to make them feel whole or more focused.” I have tried meditation a couple of times, but was never able to make it a regular practice. With my joyful nature, I found laughter way easier to “practice”. How about you?

Any other benefits of laughter you know?

The photo that belongs to the public domain was found on Pixabay.

Laughter with benefits: the physical ones

Laughing-Loud
A-maze-ing Laughter sculptures by Yue Minjun

When I asked myself to list the physical benefits of laughter I just came with: “It relaxes your body and makes you feel  good.”I decided to dig a little further and share with you other wonders of laughter. Despite researches conducted about the direct physical benefits of laughs are rather scarce, some of the benefits are identifiable right away by anyone.

  • Burns calories: according to Maciej Buchowshi, a researcher from Vanderbilt, who conducted a small study, 10-15 minutes of laughter burns 50 calories. If you laugh enough every day, you may not need to go to the gym as often as you do now.
  • Gives an abs workoutLife.Gaiam.com describes well this benefit “when you are laughing, the muscles in your stomach expand and contract, similar to when you intentionally exercise your abs.” If you hate doing crunches, laughter is an alternate option. What a nice after feeling after a belly laugh.
  • Relaxes your body: according to Helpguide.org “a good hearty laugh relieves physical pain and stress leaving your muscles relaxed for 45 min.” It feels the same when I have a good workout. The only difference; there are way more places available for a laugh than a workout.
  • Lowers the blood pressure: researchers from the University of Maryland noticed that the blood vessels of people who just watched a drama tended to tense up, restricting the blood.  On the contrary the blood vessels of people who just watched a comedy behaved normally, expanding and contracting easily. It can protect you against a heart attack and some other cardiovascular issues. It appears to me as a very cost efficient heart medicine.
  • Boosts your immune system: it decreases the stress hormones, increases the immune cells and infection antibodies. As a result your body’s resistance to disease improves. If you have an active illness prevention plan, add laughter to it
  • Triggers the release of endorphins, the body’s natural feel good hormone. The secretion of endorphins leads to an overall sense of well-being and contributes to decreases the feeling  of pain. At the same times it reduces the production of cortisol, the “stress hormone”. After a good laugh, you certainly feel serene. As we say in French, “ZENitude” is going all over your body.

Laughter has a lot of benefits and as a reminder this is absolutely free! As I was doing some research about this post I found this interesting video explaining “How does laughter work? “

Sources, HelpGuide, Wedmed.comLife.Gaiam.com

Photo credit: Karinli on Flickr