Stress is a well-known slow killer, is rampant in our society, and is very expensive on all levels. Its mechanisms are complex. It impacts everybody differently, but its end-result is easy to observe and explain. It creates havoc in the human body, leads to depression, kills creativity, isolates people when they most need social connections and slowly destroys one’s self-esteem. Stress cannot be ignored.
Here is a summary of the various ways discussed in this article on how laughter impacts stress:
- Laughter triggers the release of a cocktail of happy chemicals that boosts the immune responses, particularly components related to anti-viral and anti-tumor defenses. This cocktail includes NK cells, endorphins, serotonin, growth hormone, interferon-gamma (IFN) and a host of other beneficial substances produced naturally every time we laugh heartily for extended periods.
- Laughter diminishes the secretion of cortisol and epinephrine, while enhancing immune reactivity.
- Laughter boosts secretion of growth hormone, an enhancer of key immune responses.
- Laughing leads to the release of endorphins, a self-manufactured natural opiate that has been scientifically shown to carry messages of attachment and bonding (the scientific terms for love), and to stimulate feelings of caring and forgiveness in addition to acting as a natural painkiller. Endorphins create a positive state of mind and boost optimism, self-confidence and feelings of self-worth.
- By enhancing the free flow of emotions, laughter can help dislodge blocked emotions stored in the body. Suppressed or blocked emotions can cause ongoing physical, mental and emotional problems and stress. Their release can be life-changing. Laughter provides an excellent non-violent method for emotional release and catharsis.
- Laughter stimulates circulation and aids muscle relaxation, both of which help reduce some of the physical symptoms of stress.
- Expect to be far less tense and anxious after a Laughter Wellness or Laughter Yoga session! By increasing endorphins (hormones which assuage the sympathetic nervous system) laughter facilitates a state of peace in the body.
- Laughter is a natural antidote to many of the illness-causing effects of stress.