In this article, we will be answering “Why do we laugh a lot?”, the benefits of laughing a lot, and How to laugh more.
Why do we laugh a lot?
We laugh a lot because it is an important emotional experience, and it is the most common social expression used for communication.
Laughter is part of the human language that is universal. All members of the human race are aware of this.
One of the noteworthy aspects of laughter is that it happens unconsciously. You don’t decide to do so. Although we can inhibit it consciously, we do not generate laughter consciously. That’s why laughing in order, or artificial laughing is difficult.
At around 3.5 to 4 months of age, the first laugh occurs even before we can talk. Laughter, like weeping, is a way for the mother and other caregivers to communicate with a preverbal child.
The exact brain processes responsible for laughter are very little understood. But we do know that certain stimuli and thoughts cause laughter and that it stimulates many parts of the body.
We believe laughter emerged from our ancient primate ancestors’ panting behavior. Today, they don’t laugh “ha ha ha ha” if we tickle chimpanzees or gorillas; instead, they show a panting tone. This is the sound of laughter from an ape. And the source of human laughter is here.
Apes laugh in conditions such as tickle, rugged games, and catching games in which human laughter is produced. During play, other animals produce vocalizations, but they are so distinct that it’s hard to compare them with laughter. Rats, for instance, during play and when tickled, produce high-pitch vocalizations. But the sound is very different from human laughter.
Laughing a lot can also be detrimental to health in a way. There is a particular condition for laughing a lot.
A disorder characterized by episodes of sudden uncontrollable and inappropriate laughter or crying is pseudobulbar affect (PBA). Usually, pseudobulbar affect occurs in persons with certain neurological disorders or accidents, which could influence the way emotion is regulated by the brain.
If you have a pseudobulbar influence, you will usually feel feelings, but you will often exaggerate or improperly express them. As a consequence, you can find the situation embarrassing and disruptive.
Good Laugh; Good Wellbeing
Laughter is a physiological reaction that includes movement that is rhythmic and spontaneous and represents pleasure, satisfaction, or happiness. Many studies have been performed over the past few years that demonstrate the positive impact that laughter has on one’s physical and mental health.
Laughter makes you relaxed. True, a few laughs will liven things up and lower your levels of stress. Laughter also improves the immune system, protects the heart, and can even help you live longer! We recognize that perceived slights are a downside to your wellbeing, but a healthy eagerness to let things go and a sense of humor can help you enjoy a long, full life.
We used to laugh so many times a day as children, but as adults, life seems to be more difficult and laughter rarer. But you can boost your mental wellbeing, enhance your relationships, find greater satisfaction, and even add years to your life by finding more chances for humor and laughter.
Some benefits of a good laugh
Laughter relaxes the body as a whole. A healthy, hearty laugh relieves stress and physical strain, leaving the muscles relaxed for up to 45 minutes afterward.
The immune system is boosted by laughter. Laughter lowers stress hormones and enhances immune cells and antibodies that combat infection, thus improving the resilience to illness.
Laughter causes endorphins, the natural feel-good chemicals in the body, to be released. Endorphins encourage an overall sense of well-being and can even reduce pain temporarily.
Laughter safeguards the heart. Laughter enhances blood circulation and increases the flow of blood, which can help protect you from heart disease and other cardiovascular issues.
Calories are burned by laughter. Okay, so it’s no substitute for going to the gym, but one study found that laughing for 10 to 15 minutes a day will burn around 40 calories, which may be enough for over a year to lose three or four pounds.
Laughter lightens the heavy load of frustration. Nothing more easily diffuses frustration and conflict than a mutual laugh. Looking at the funny side will bring issues into perspective and encourage you to move on without holding on to bitterness or anger from confrontations.
Laughter may even be able to help you live longer. Research in Norway found that people who don’t laugh as much outlived those with a good sense of humor. For those fighting cancer, the difference was especially noteworthy.
Laughter avoids distressing thoughts. When you are smiling, you can’t feel nervous, upset, or sad.
Laughter makes you recover and relax. It decreases tension and increases energy, helping you to remain concentrated and achieve more.
Laughter changes perspective, helping you to see things in a way that is more realistic and less threatening. A humorous outlook provides psychological space that can help you prevent conflict from becoming overwhelmed and diffuse.
You are drawn closer to others by laughter, which can affect your mental and physical health.
How to Laugh more?
Laughter is your birthright, an inherent and inborn, natural part of life. During the first weeks of life, babies begin to smile and laugh out loud within months of being born. You can learn to laugh at any instance in life, even if you did not grow up in a house where laughter was a normal sound.
Start by setting special moments aside to look for humor and laughter, as you do with exercise, and develop from there. You would eventually want to integrate humor and laughter into your life
- Watch funny videos
Comedy shows in the late evening, or stand up performances. Often it’s the only way to navigate the latest headlines in our political environment and age of division.
- Play with kids
- Bring humor to the conversation.
Smiling is the start of laughter, and it is infectious, like laughter. Practice smiling when you look at someone or see anything even slightly appealing. Look up and smile at people you pass in the street, the person delivering you a morning coffee, or the fellow workers you share an elevator with, instead of looking down at your phone. Note the effect on others
- Simulated laughter
Check for laughing yoga or laugh therapy groups to bring simulated laughter to your own life. Or you can simply start by laughing at the jokes of other people, even if you don’t find them funny. It’s going to make both you and the other person feel good, it’s going to bring you closer together, and who knows, it could even lead to shared laughter.
What do people who laugh a lot go through?
- They laugh when they are nervous.
- They laugh when they don’t know how to respond.
- They laugh even after the end of a joke.
- They can’t be sad for long; hence they laugh.
- When introducing themselves to new people
- They don’t know how to handle sad situations.
- People may find them inappropriate.
In this article, we answered, “Why we laugh a lot?”, the benefits of laughing a lot, and How to laugh more.
Side Note: I have tried and tested various products and services to help with my anxiety and depression. See my top recommendations here, as well as a full list of all products and services our team has tested for various mental health conditions and general wellness.
FAQ: Laugh a lot for good wellbeing
Why do I have so many different laughs?
We all have a lot of different laughs that we use for various reasons and situations, “says Judi James, author of The Body Language Bible, a body language and behavior specialist.” The majority are within the spectrum of ‘social masking’-that is, we do them to be respectful or to establish social bonds.
Can laughing too much hurt you?
They discovered that excessive laughter could cause fainting, asthma attacks, “abdominal hernia protrusion,” headaches, incontinence, dislocation of the jaw, and arrhythmia.
- Provine, B., & Ph.D. (2003, December 14). A big mystery: Why do we laugh? Retrieved November 05, 2020, from https://www.nbcnews.com/id/wbna3077386
- Pseudobulbar affect. (2018, May 16). Retrieved November 05, 2020, from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/pseudobulbar-affect/symptoms-causes/syc-20353737
- McDonald, T. (2019, October 20). Laugh a Lot and Improve Your Well Being. Retrieved November 05, 2020, from https://thriveglobal.com/stories/laugh-a-lot-and-improve-your-well-being/
- Naveed, S. (2019, May 08). 10 Struggles Only People Who Laugh A Lot Can Relate To. Retrieved November 05, 2020, from https://www.parhlo.com/struggles-of-people-who-laugh-a-lot
- Marelisa. (2020, July 21). How to Laugh More – 22 Ways to Bring More Laughter into Your Life. Retrieved November 05, 2020, from https://daringtolivefully.com/how-to-laugh-more
- Robinson, L. (n.d.). Laughter is the Best Medicine. Retrieved November 05, 2020, from https://www.helpguide.org/articles/mental-health/laughter-is-the-best-medicine.html