What Comes After Laughter? - Good Health

Written By Priti Desai, Health Story

Everyone loves a good chuckle once in a while and top-notch political figures are no exception. Julia Gillard, the former Australian Prime Minister is definitely one in this category and she can be stoically funny, sometimes at the expense of others, but she doesn't spare herself either.

In 2012 Gillard revealed an inside joke that she shared with U.S President Obama. At her speech at a private fundraising-dinner held in Sydney she said that she was good mates with Obama and she always tells him that if he finds it tough being African-American he should try being her. Quote- Unquote- she says- “Try being an atheist, childless and a single woman as a prime minister”. The attendees were in peals of laughter.

Peal Appeal

The ability to be able to laugh at circumstances and challenges; have fun with those around you and play helps you solve problems and makes life more enjoyable. It brings out the creativity in you and helps you connect with others. What you might have noticed, just as I have is that it’s not the thigh-slapper stuff that makes people laugh but a genuine roll of good humour.

An All-Round Antidote

It helps in building relationships and keeping them strong, plus it keeps your mind healthy and active. A good chuckle can instantaneously boost your well-being and alter your biology. Let me help you understand how this actually takes place.

  • The lil’ grey cells-

    Whenever you hear any punch line, the brain catalyses its centres for emotion, muscle function and higher thought. They buckle and chuckle too and conclude- ‘What a riot!!’ The muscles surrounding your cheeks and eyes start contracting spontaneously. Your grey cells shoot a signal to the brain stem which is essentially your body’s headquarters for lung functions such as breathing and laughter.

  • Why leave the Lungs unsung?-

    The chest muscles and the diaphragm will tighten and air will be forced out of your lungs. It will gush right through your windpipe and make your vocal cords vibrate and then emit those unfettered vowel sounds that we call a ho-ho or a ha-ha.

  • Surprise Your Eyes-

    If whatever has you going, is truly funny, your eyes will begin to water.

  • Adding to Muscle Power-

    Wile the core and facial muscles tense-up, the rest of the muscles will become less coordinated and will weaken. If you are laughing really hard, you will find it difficult or almost impossible to maintain a straight gait. In the sidelines, your obliques are also working very hard to expel air and will help shed a few calories.

  • In Harmony with Hormones-

    A side-splitting, hearty laugh will take the cork off the endorphins. These are the natural opiates that are generally triggered by exercise and your pain threshold will also temporarily head northwards. Loads of chuckles also have the potential to wind-down cortisol (the stress hormone) levels. Excessive cortisol is directly linked to depression and exhaustion.

Set Your Emotions into Motion

Laughter is contagious and that is a proven fact. Some scientists aver that it has originated from a very early bonding-mechanism. Me for one- I believe that they are right. Laughter is a complex response that has varying effects on the even more complex organs in our body.

The fact of the matter is that laughter helps in keeping the body healthy and the mind stress-free and if something can do that for me- I will unquestioningly welcome it with open arms, and ideally- so should you!

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