LAUGHTER ADDS YEARS TO LIFE - Lexicon

My instructor told me to laugh to tone my abs. He added that when one is laughing, the
muscles of their stomach expand and contract, similar to when one intentionally exercises
their abs. Meanwhile, the muscles that are not being used to laugh are getting an opportunity
to relax. “Add laughter to your ab routine and make getting a toned tummy more enjoyable”,
he advised.


Researchers Dr. Lee Berk and Dr. Stanley Tan at the Loma Linda University in California
have researched the benefits of laughter and found amazing results. They believe that one
of the best feelings in the world is the deep-rooted belly laugh. It can bring people together
and establish amazing connections. Everything from a slight giggle to a side-splitting guffaw
can change the temperature of a room from chilly unfamiliarity to a warm family-like
atmosphere. “Get ready to get your giggle on!”, they say.


Laughing is not only an emotional response to something funny, but also physical. It involves
several muscles in the body, including one’s abdomen, back, shoulders, and 15 facial
muscles. And so, it can actually enhance our workout. According to the Oxford study.
laughter plays a vital part in raising the body’s hormonal level and release of endorphins,
and the resulting euphoric and natural feeling often known as “runner’s high.” When the
endorphins are kicking, one’s mind and body are less susceptible to pain.


Dr. Deirdre Barrett, professor of evolutionary psychology at Harvard and author Supernormal
Stimuli says that laughter is a good old- fashioned way to get in the right physical and mental
state needed to push through the day. One can raise the pain threshold through laughter as
it works on the core to release tension. A belly laughter exercises the diaphragm and thus
improves agility. It is like a mini-workout crunch. Like an active workout, it releases tension
throughout the body and loosens the muscles.


Laughter helps breathe correctly. Breathing technique is essential, a serious laughter makes
us feel out of breath as it empties out the lungs and has a positive effect on the respiratory
system. Laughter is an excellent stimulant of our lungs and gives an aerobic burst which is
similar to the power breathing technique of yoga. Stimulation of lungs lowers blood pressure
and eases the natural flow of blood through the body, further improving cardiovascular
strength. Low blood pressure reduces stress. Laughing 100 times a day has been known to
equal 15 minutes of cardio exercise.


“Several earlier studies have found that laughter boosts the immune system, raising levels of
antibodies and natural killer cells,” adds Dr. Deirdre Barrett. By decreasing stress hormones
and increases immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies, laughter improves resistance
to disease. Laughter thus boosts the immune system. Negative thoughts manifest into
chemical reactions that can affect human body by bringing more stress into the system.
Positive thoughts can actually release neuropeptides that help fight stress and potentially
more-serious illnesses. It is laughter that releases neuropeptides into the body. T-cells,
which are specialized immune system cells, are activated when one laughs.


An improved sense of humor can make life enjoyable. Watching comedies of stand up refines sense of humour and makes one roll out of their seats in not time. Puns, funny
pictures and books ease tension of the mind. Trying to see the funny side to almost
everything is a valuable life skill and comes in handy when in stress. Though weird, it causes
one’s mood to do an instant 180 and influences others too. Almost everything we experience
has a funny side.


Surrounding oneself with funny people adds genuine laughs and helps live longer, enhance
life quality and improve one’s perspective. Even Chandler (from Friends) had moments when
he would crack a joke and everyone would stare at him like ‘Dude, that’s not funny!!’ But
does he give up? No, and neither should you. Keep trying and coming up with better material
to make your audience laugh whether it is on a stage or just among friends. Be witty and not
silly. Stay positive and practice shifting your mind to positivity every time stress affects the
mood.


It’s hard to maintain feelings of anxiety, anger, or stress when you’re laughing so hard that
tears stream down your face. Like yawning, humor and laughter are contagious. Humor is a
transcendent virtue within the character strengths. It involves an ability to be playful, elicit
smiles from others, be lighthearted, and see the lighter side of situations. Laughter enhances
your intake of oxygen-rich air, stimulates your heart, lungs and muscles, and increases the
endorphins that are released by your brain which further activates and relieves stress
response.


As William Shakespeare says through Gratiano in The Merchant of Venice, ““With mirth and
laughter let old wrinkles come.”

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