The following might sound familiar to you:
Someone tells a joke, but you don’t find it funny. Somehow you start laughing anyway and you can’t stop.
Is this weird? No, it isn’t. Results from American research show that we laugh to show we are socially involved with people more than we laugh because something is funny.
By laughing you display a certain form of affection and you strengthen the relationship between you and the other. So laughing has a communicative function: binding relationships. This starts when you are just a baby. 3 months after you are born, you already start smiling at your parents. This is a way of displaying affection to the person who will be taking care of them.
What effect does laughing have on you?
- When you laugh, you are actually massaging your organs. You use your facial, abdominal and diaphragm muscles. This lowers the muscle tension in your other muscles and thus relaxes you.
- Your heartbeat and blood pressure will adjust to each other. This is because you take deeper breaths when you are laughing, which increases your blood circulation. Your blood will transport nutrients through your body more quickly.
- When you are laughing, your body produces endorphin. This hormone reduces pain and stress.
- Laughing is not only fun, but it also has a positive effect on your immune system.
In short: laugh yourself healthy!