The health effects of laughter very nearly mirrors that of aerobic activity, without all the effort, in the following ways:
- Laughter decreases the production of cortisol. One of cortisol’s side effects is that it depresses the immune system by reducing the production of lymphocytes – white blood cells. White blood cells are our main defense against viruses, diseases, germs and any parasites that infect the body. By reducing the production of cortisol, laughter actually improves our immune system’s ability to fight off such diseases, germs and defend against parasites.
- Laughter increases the production of endorphins. Endorphins have the effect of relaxing the body and relieving pain.
- Laughter improves respiration, thus increasing the level of oxygen intake. Oxygen acts like a sponge, soaking up toxic free radicals (cancer causing elements) within the body and the brain and thus improves brain function.
- Laughter reduces blood pressure.
- Laughter improves cognitive ability.
If you have been cramming for a test or preparing for a very important meeting that requires you to think on your feet or solve complex problems, 30 minutes of laughter prior to the test or meeting will increase cognitive ability during the test or meeting. If you want to perform at your best you need to make laughter a daily habit.