Is laughter really good for the body?
Julie sits in her room sulking. She is completely stressedout and overwhelmed by school, her friends, family, andboyfriend. Julie decides to stay in her room and watchtelevision all day. Her favorite sitcom comes on and Juliejust laughs and laughs.
Her shoulders move, her thorax shakes, and herdiaphragm vibrates. Julie’s laughter even leads to cramps;this is the first good belly laugh in a while. Her heartbeats faster, her blood pressure rises and the oxygen levels in herblood increases as breathing accelerates. After the laughinghas stopped, her blood pressure falls and Julie’s stress hormonesdecrease.
A good joke, comedy television sitcom, or justa funny thing that happened to someone can cause laughter. According to Richard Blonna, author of Controlling Stress andTension, it is physiologically impossible to be stressed when youare laughing.
Freshmen Lauren McNary agrees with Blonna, “IfI’m feeling bad at the moment, laughter relieves my tension andstress. I simply feel good.”
When a person laughs, all of their bodysystems are involved. The skeletal and smooth musclescontract, respiration increases in depth and rate and bloodpressure elevates. Also, body temperatures increase, and thecentral nervous system is activated.
Blonna stresses that the real benefit oflaughter is that the levels of activity of these systems and thebreathing, pumping blood, and muscle contractions are higher thanwhen the body is at rest. After a good laugh, the levels fallbelow normal which results in the same sense of deep relaxation andsatisfaction.
Physical therapy major Brittney Hackett says,”Now that you mention it, I do feel relaxed after a goodlaugh. It is kind of an ab workout.”
Laughter can also work as a painreliever. Blonna proceeds in stating that laughter is aphysical exercise due to the release of endorphins.
Studies done at California’s Loma LindaUniversity say that laughter has been found to enhance the immunesystem by increasing the concentration of lymphocytes, killer-cellactivity, and overall levels of functioning. Since thelaughter enhances the immune system, Loma Linda University believesthat these effects suggest that humor and laughter can be used inpreventing disease.
Accounting major Charisse Bullock commits insaying, “All of this is great to hear.” Bullock giggles toherself and then speaks. “With all of the stress that I faceas a college student, I’m glad to know that by simply laughing Irelieve stress, get a good workout, and prevent diseases in thelong run.”