Anticipating a laugh reduces stress hormones

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As I write, it’s Wednesday morning. “Humpday” for those who work Monday to Friday. So much to get done, so little time …

Stop that thinking right now! Please.

Instead look forward to something positive that’s forthcoming (and can I suggest going along to a community-based laughter club practising laughter yoga  is just the ticket for ‘something positive’. My suggestion is, of course, based on the common knowledge of how good we feel when we laugh. And those of us who have twigged laughter yoga know we can laugh without humour, as an exercise, for our well-being: that when we willingly engage in hearty mirthful laughing, we give ourselves a dose of health-protecting stress-less hormones).

Because scientific research suggests that anticipating a positive event can decrease stress hormones that, unchecked, lead to serious health problems.

Researchers at Loma Linda University in California have been involved in studying the human body’s response to mirthful laugher since the 1980s.

Thanks to Loma Linda University research we know that laughter:

  • helps optimise hormones in the endocrine system, leading us to stress less
  • boosts the immune system’s production of antibodies and activates the body’s protective cells, including T-cells and natural killer cells.

We also know that anticipating watching a funny film increased beta-endorphins by 27% and human growth hormone (important for immune system health) by a whopping 87% —the control group who had no such anticipation showed no such signs.

What’s more, the sheer anticipation of laughter reduced the levels of 3 stress hormones—cortisol, epinephrine (adrenaline) and dopac by 39%, 70% and 38% respectively.

Let us take that learning and apply it today. Look forward to something in which you will laugh, mirthfully, heartily.  Why not check out whether there’s a laughter club near you in Australia. (And if there’s not a laughter club near you, let’s talk about starting one up in your community or workplace!)

As psychologist William James said:

We don’t laugh because we’re happy: we’re happy because we laugh.

 

(c) HeatherJoy Campbell 2017

HeatherJoy Campbell is a Certified Laughter Yoga Teacher and professional laughter wellbeing facilitator who, along with delivering laughter wellbeing sessions, workshops and presentations in workplaces, aged care and community organisations, and training,  coordinates a neighbourhood laughter club as a community giveback.

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Fact!

It has been scientifically proven that 20 minutes of laughter reaps real physiological benefits.

Testimonial

"Heather Joy’s laughter yoga session was the most fun I’ve had at work in a long time! It was great to do it as a group – a team building exercise in itself. I definitely got a dose of therapy and endorphins, a workout for my lungs, and came away with a new tool to de-stress at the end of a day."

- Suzie Christiansen, CEO, Anglicare Central Queensland, October 2016

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