What is it, why do we do it, why is it good for us?
I sometimes have these moments, where I wonder why we are programmed to do certain things, and I think that this is certainly one of those times. LAUGHTER.
According to Wikipedia, laughter is a physical reaction in humans consisting of rhythmical, often audible contractions of the diaphragm and other parts of the respiratory system. I guess this lends explanation as to how we can feel our abs burning after a long laughter session.
On the how stuff works website, it says that when we laugh we work 15 facial muscles (perhaps its just a mini workout). At the same time as this the respiratory system is disrupted by the epiglottis half-closing the larynx, this causes us to take in air irregularly, hence why we may feel out of breath after a session of laughter… or it could just be because we have had a huge ab and facial muscle workout!
What I love about laughter, is that we all have a different laugh, some people wheeze, some people snort, some people don’t make a sound at all, others opt for the squeal, and some laugh a more normal ‘giggle’. I’m definitely a mixture of the squealer and the silent laugher. I’m also, without a doubt, a crying laugher. I’m a mess! What kind of laugher would you say you are?
Why we laugh is another question…
A question that doesn’t really have an answer and that’s really frustrating.. It may seem like it has an obvious answer, in when we find something funny or humorous.
But because I’m officially a nerdy first year student, i did some digging on google scholar and found that a researcher called Robert R. Provine, conducted a study where he listened to peoples conversations and found that only 10-20% of laughs came from the other person telling a joke. While the other 80-90% of laughs originated from comments such as ‘it was nice meeting you’. Provine argued that this happens because in humans, laughter is said to have predated speech… *woooaah*
Laughter, is arguably, like yawning, it is socially contagious, so we have the tendency to laugh when in the company of others who are laughing.
Mind blown… but it still doesn’t really tell us why we laugh.
Why is it good for us?
After doing some more digging on google, laughter is good for us all. Laughter…
- relaxes our body, relieving physical pain and tension
- decreases stress hormones and increases immune cells, so makes us healthier
- attracts others towards us and helps us improve our social life
- Eases anxiety and improves mood, it can help relieve depression
- As I said above, gives you a mini workout
- Protects your heart – it benefits how blood flows around your body, which in turn can reduce heart disease.