Laughter is unique to humans, but there’s more to it than something we do when we’re amused. Oh yes, having a titter can really help your physical and mental health, so stick on your favourite sitcom and get giggling…
It makes you fitter
While you probably can’t ditch the gym - 15 minutes of laughter a day will only burn 10-40 calories - having a good laugh does has the same health benefits of a cardiovascular workout including an increase in heart rate, respiratory rate, and oxygen consumption. It can also improve heart health.
It creates a bond
Research has shown that you’re 30 times more likely to laugh when you’re with others than when you’re by yourself, which shows just what a social thing laughter is. And if you think we laugh because we’ve found something funny, then you’re wrong! It’s thought that the main reason we laugh is to actually create positive feelings in other people. When you laugh, others laugh and this in turn creates a relaxed, friendly atmosphere.
It’s a great stress reliever
A good guffaw can really relax you. One study even found that even the anticipation of laughter decreases the effect of stress and boosts the immune system. Laughing can also increase your blood pressure, stimulate your circulation and relax muscles, all of which adds up to one chilled-out feeling.
It can help relieve pain
Next time you have a headache, instead of reaching for the paracetamol, have a good giggle. It releases endorphins, which in turn increases your pain threshold.
It’s a natural anti-depressant
Those endorphins, known as the happy hormone, do more than just kick pain into touch, they also make you um… happier. Laughing also increases the level of dopamine, which can decrease when you’re depressed.
It can stop the sniffles
A chuckle a day can really keep the doctor away! Why? Because laughter strengthens your immune system by producing antibodies in your saliva and your bloodstream, which helps to stop those bacteria and viruses in their tracks.