It has long been thought that laughter is one of the most effective natural cures for stress while also having benefits of increasing energy levels and enhancing the body’s immune system by increasing antibody production.
Laughter has previously been found to reduce the levels of stress hormones within the body including dopamine, cortisol and adrenaline while levels of hormones like endorphins and neurotransmitters are increased.
Dr Richard Dunbar a biologist at Oxford University recently conducted a study in which the effect of laughter was observed in relation to pain tolerance. Participants were put in either a group watching extracts from comedy programs such as Friends and Mr. Bean while the other group watched comedians perform at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Dunbar and colleagues evaluated participants’ pain tolerance by either placing a cold object on their arm or inflating blood pressure until their threshold was reached.
The results of the study report that participants’ pain tolerance reduced on average by 10 per cent for those who had watched the comedians for as little as 15 minutes. It was reported that the physical exertion of laughing causes stomach muscles to instigate the release of endorphins which are responsible for both the control of pain and minimise the physical symptoms of stress.
Laughter is the contagious disease that no one would try to avoid contracting, and unlike many things in this world is a free natural antidote for many of our every day woes.