It’s a fact - a good laugh is irresistible - and it’s always fun to share it.
But did you know that it can actually improve your health? Science and research have evidence that laughter is a powerful antidote to stress, pain and conflict.
In the fast-paced world of constant deadlines and work pressure, experts recommend a good laugh instead of taking coffee or a smoke break.
They say laughter provides a full-scale workout for muscles and unleashes a rush of stress-busting endorphins.
Since our bodies cannot distinguish between real and fake laughter, anything that makes one giggle will have a positive impact.
Laughter, whether real or simulated, releases endorphins and serotonin into the bloodstream and encourages “real laughter”, which is hard to stop once released.
These happy hormones trick the body into bypassing the intellectual system, which normally acts as a barrier to genuine laughter.
Scientists also tell us that laughter, humour, and joy are an important part of life.
Laughing lowers blood pressure, reduces stress hormones, and increases muscle flexion.
It increases the circulation of antibodies in the bloodstream and makes us more resistant to infection.
So important is laughter to our health, Cape Town has Laughter Coaches. One of the coaches, Bronwyn Kilroe, advises that when it comes to laughter, people should “fake it till you make it”.
“Laughter assists with stress management, health promotion, and happiness development, enabling teams to perform at high levels, maintain their composure in a crisis and take better care of their organisation, leading to long-term business success,” says Kilroe.
While there are major health benefits to laughing, she says corporates should invest in making their staff happy because it helps build a healthy work environment.
A Forbes study indicates that for business success, laughter is an asset with happy employees reportedly being up to 50% more productive.
Regine le Roux, Reputation Matters managing director, notes: “An organisation’s productivity and employee engagement are dimensions that we take into consideration when measuring an organisation’s reputation. Both play an important role in the overall reputation of an organisation.
“A workplace that feels fun and friendly increases team morale and engagement levels and reduces absenteeism caused by illness. Finding humour in everyday situations is an excellent antidote to stress and encourages teams to work together to ultimately contribute to the bottom line and improve the company’s overall reputation,” says Le Roux.
So the next time you are feeling down or sad, share in laughter to help you deal with the stress.