We all know that a good old belly laugh is a super medicine for most things. I can’t think of much that a good chuckle with friends will not fix. But what is the brain magic that lifts our mood after a giggle?
Well here is the answer – have you ever heard anyone talk about having an “endorphin rush?”
Sex, exercise, even hot peppers — all sorts of things can give you these euphoric highs. So what really are these endorphins our brain gives out, and what is their link to laughter?
Endorphins, also known as ‘happy hormones,’ are morphine-like chemicals produced by the body during laughter, excitement – even exercise. They are natural painkillers that help ease pain while triggering positive feelings.
Cue the laughter.
Did you know, a study suggests that 15 minutes of laughter will release enough endorphins to increase your pain threshold by up to 10%. Incredible!
As well as giving us a good chuckle, laughter is an exercise, it is a proper workout. You can burn up to 40 calories per 15 minutes of laughter, so it is bound to get your happy hormones pumping.
Laughter increases your intake of oxygen-rich air, stimulates your heart, lungs and muscles, and increases the endorphins being released by your brain. You then get caught up in a laughter/endorphin circle. The more you laugh, the happier you become, and the happier you become; the more you laugh!
Research suggests that it is the bonding effects of the ‘endorphin rush’ that show why laughter plays such an important role in our social lives. The release of endorphins is powerful, it promotes the feeling of ‘togetherness,’ warming you to your laughter peers, helping you feel more at ease and bond through laughter.
In tough times, even when it doesn’t feel like there is too much to laugh about, just laugh. Laugh at the red traffic light, laugh at your blank phone, laugh in the shower. It is physically impossible to feel sad when you’re laughing. Getting your happy hormones pumping will make you smile.
So it turns out that the brain magic in laughter, all comes down to endorphins. And it also turns out, laughter is GREAT for releasing endorphins.
It is a lot easier to see physical changes on the outside of the body, but it is really interesting to learn about the changes that go on inside your body. I don’t know about you, but I love learning about laughter and the amazing effects it has on our body. Every day is a school day.”