Reviewed by John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP on October 9, 2019
Test your Knowledge!
- Why does laughter feel good?
- Why is laughter helpful in social situations?
- If you laugh enough every day, you could lose weight. True or false?
- Laughter can help your heart. True or false?
- Laughing can help relieve pain. True or false?
- Laughter can help with depression, anxiety, and stress. True or false?
- Laughter can boost immunity. True or false?
- Laughter can also improve mental functions. True or false?
- Laughter can be a medical problem. True or false?
- Improve your Health I.Q. on Laughter
- Laughter Related Slideshows
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Q:Why does laughter feel good?
A:Laughter releases feel-good chemicals in the brain called endorphins, which are sometimes referred to as the brain's natural opiate, that can produce a natural high.
It also releases dopamine, a neurotransmitter that can help boost mood. Laughter has also been shown to decrease the production of cortisol, a stress hormone.
Q:Why is laughter helpful in social situations?
A:Laughter can help bring people together.
It's a way to establish a connection with another person, and it can also defuse anger or anxiety in social situations, and show others we understand them.
Laughter isn't always about funny jokes. Up to 20% of laughter follows comments that are not humorous, which suggests that being around other people is in itself a stimulus for laughter. In fact, we're 30 times more likely to laugh when we're with other people than when we're alone.
Q:If you laugh enough every day, you could lose weight. True or false?
Your body uses up to 20% more energy when laughing than when at rest. Researchers found that 10 to 15 minutes of laughter daily could burn between 10 to 40 calories. While you still have to exercise and consume a healthy diet, laughing just 15 minutes each day could burn enough calories to help you lose up to 4.5 pounds in one year!
Q:Laughter can help your heart. True or false?
Just 20 seconds of laughter can double your heart rate for up to three to five minutes. Initially, laughter can activate the body's 'fight or flight' response and heart rate and blood pressure increase. But just 20 minutes after laughing, heart rate, blood pressure, and muscular tension drop below baseline levels, which results in relaxation and calmness that can last up to 45 minutes after laughter. Laughter also increases blood flow and improves arterial function, which can help protect against cardiovascular problems.
Q:Laughing can help relieve pain. True or false?
Laugher releases endorphins – those same brain chemicals that can make you feel euphoric can also help ease pain. In addition to a natural high, endorphins can also increase a person's ability to tolerate pain. In fact, one study showed older adults with chronic pain had less pain after undergoing "humor therapy" with jokes and funny stories than a group who did not receive the therapy.
Q:Laughter can help with depression, anxiety, and stress. True or false?
Laughter has a wide range of psychological benefits, and it can help reduce feeling of depression, anxiety, and stress. It's those endorphins and dopamine – they can give a natural high and boost mood. Laughter can also help us cope and stay connected to others which can keep us in a positive mood.
Q:Laughter can boost immunity. True or false?
Laughter can help improve immune system functioning. People who are stressed or ill have low levels of immunoglobin A (IgA). One study found that watching humorous videotapes resulted in higher concentrations of IgA. Laughter can also activate natural killer cells that attack tumor cells and viruses, and T lymphocytes (a type of white blood cell), which needed for healthy immune system function.
Q:Laughter can also improve mental functions. True or false?
Laughter can increase the levels of the catecholamine neurotransmitters such as dopamine, which can improve mental functions such as interpersonal responsiveness, memory, and alertness. Laughter can help people feel more motivated and energized, which aids in mental functioning.
Q:Laughter can be a medical problem. True or false?
A condition called pathological laughter, or the pseudobublar effect, is characterized by episodes of sudden, uncontrollable episodes laughing or crying. This symptom is often seen in people with certain neurological conditions such as stroke survivors, people with dementia, traumatic brain injury, multiple sclerosis, and ALS.
Source quiz on MedicineNet