Experts say children can laugh up to 300-400 times in a day, but as adults this frequency drops to 15 times a day. But it's medically proven that laughter benefits your health. Dr S K Gupta, senior consultant, cardiology, Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals, "Laughing exercises the heart as well as the lungs. When one laughs, the heart rate goes up and the brain is relaxed."
Results of a study from Loma Linda University's Schools of Allied Health (SAHP) and Medicine, showed that laughing not only enhances a positive mood, but lowers stress hormones, increases immune activity, and lowers cholesterol and blood pressure, similar to moderate exercise.
Laughter apparently also makes people more attractive. The idea that funny people are attractive may seem obvious, but there have been very few scientific studies to examine whether or not this is true.
Eric Bressler of Westfield State College, Massachusetts, and colleague Sigal Balshine of McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, did this by asking more than 200 male and female college students to examine photos of members of the opposite sex. Some had funny quotes pinned beneath them, such as: "My high school was so rough we had our own coroner." Others had bland ones: "I'd rather walk to school than take the bus."
Women ranked the humorous men as better potential partners, the researchers found - and as more friendly, fun and popular. Bressler suspected that men and women do, in fact, both value a sense of humour in a mate, but that they might be looking for slightly different things: women valuing an ability to be funny and men valuing an ability to see the joke.
New research from the University of California's Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine in Irvine concludes that merely anticipating a funny event improved people's mood.
Previous work from these researchers found that laughter can increase the body's ability to fight off infection by increasing levels of key immune system components, and also by decreasing levels of stress hormones associated with poor immune function.
This new finding, however, is the first to suggest that anticipating a humorous event may do the same.
Do we need to laugh more today? "In a fast paced world, stress-related diseases are on the rise. More than 70 per cent of illnesses are related to stress. To escape stress, people turn to alcohol, smoking and drugs. If only they realised the wonder medicine of laughter!" exclaims Dr Kataria.
According to research, open-mouthed laughter is most appealing. "Laughter sounds good only when it's open-mouthed. Conversely, a closed mouth laugh such as a snigger, which scientists describe as a 'pant-pant' sound, has the opposite effect." A study suggests that beginning in childhood, we learn to associate the wide-open guffaw with life's most positive experiences. Eventually, all it takes is to hear that happy sound to feel happier.
Laugh your way to health!