Have you ever had a giggle fit? Something that just sets you off and in an instant you completely lose it?
We know that laughter feels absolutely fabulous, and we’re often told that laughter is the best medicine for an emotional or physical ailment. Turns out, that may be true.
Robert Provine, the author of Laughter: A Scientific Investigation, explains, “Laughter is not under much conscience control. We don’t decide to laugh, it just happens. Most laughter is for no reason; it’s not a response to a joke. It’s a response to other people.” He also says that “cracking up – even at a funeral or formal state event – isn’t all that unusual.”
Laughter is known to improve immunity, reduce depression, anxiety and stress, cope better with pain, and increase self-esteem. Here’s what happens to your body when the giggles take over.
Everyone knows that laughter is contagious. Scientists have even speculated that it evolved as an early bonding mechanism. Who knows, maybe sharing a good laugh can help you emotionally connect with others.
When you’re caught up in laughter, your brain ignites its centers for higher thought, muscle function, and emotion. What happens next? The muscles around your eyes and cheeks start spontaneously contracting. You can’t quite control it.
The air is then forced out of your lungs, as your diaphragm and chest muscles begin to tighten. When your vocal cords vibrate, they emit short, unrestricted sounds. That would be the giggling noise.
Usually during a really good laugh, your eyes will begin watering.
Laughing hysterically causes the sudden exit of air from your lungs. The heart reacts to this by raising your blood pressure and heart rate to get more oxygen to your organs.
Releasing endorphins is key to promoting happiness. These natural opiates are usually triggered by a little exercise, but laughing is one fun way to get you in a feel-good mood, as well as decrease cortisol. Your pain threshold might even shoot up. Well, at least temporarily.
Ever noticed how when you’re laughing really hard that you can barely walk or function? That’s because your muscles become less coordinated and almost weaker, even if your facial and core muscles are tense.
The bottom line: bring more laughter into your life!