Laughter is the best medicine. That is not quite true, but it should be very healthy. An expert explains what the positive effects are all about.
“A day without laughing is a lost day,” the proverb says. Because whether during a good comedy on TV or when someone tells a funny joke: Laughter is good – and it should have a positive effect on body and mind.
When we laugh together with others, it also strengthens our social ties, says Prof. Alexander Lerchl in an interview.
Laughter should be healthy. Is that true and if so, why?
Alexander Lerchl: Yes, laughter is actually healthy because we get into a positive mood and because we can get rid of negative thoughts when we laugh a lot. That works great. And because we often laugh with other people, that’s also good for our social bonds. So there is a lot going on when you laugh and that is generally very healthy.
Laughter breaks down stress hormones
What happens in our bodies when we laugh?
Prof. Lerchl: Yes, a lot actually happens in the body when we laugh. For example, the oxygen supply is improved because we breathe faster and deeper. Then we work several muscles that we need to breathe. Sometimes so much that we have sore muscles the next day.
There are also cases when we laugh so hard that tears flow. These are of course not tears of mourning, but tears of laughter. And interestingly enough, laughter breaks down stress hormones. A very well measurable effect that has lasting consequences. The psychological situation also improves sustainably and clearly. So a lot of things happen when we laugh.
Train laughter with laughter yoga
Can you train to laugh more?
Prof. Lerchl: Yes, everyone can actually do that. For example, by reading funny books. There are a number of books that I read over and over and that make me laugh every time. Or by watching funny movies. It works – even if you’ve seen the films a lot, interestingly enough. The gags are shown again and again and still, you have to laugh.
Laughing with friends is of course particularly effective. And there is actually such a thing as laughter schools and laughter yoga that has gotten into a bit of fashion lately. So there are plenty of ways you can train laughing.