Tuesday, 1 October 2013


Hey guys it's health tip Tuesday again and I'm here with another one. Last week, there was a blog post on jokes because I felt people needed to relieve some of the everyday stresses and tension they face. Today, I'll give you healthy reasons why you need to laugh often. I mean outright laugh out loud; tummy aching, eyes watering, breath taking laugh, not a quaint smile, even though certain situations may not permit a belly laugh.

Laughing is an involuntary reaction to either an external or internal stimuli. It is considered a visual and audible expression of a number of positive emotional states like joy, happiness, relief e.t.c, other times of negative emotions like embarrassment or confusion, known as nervous laughter. It may arise from tickling, jokes, stories or thoughts. The study of humour and laughter and its effects on the body is known as gelotology.

Certain factors like age, gender, education, language and culture determine the ways people will experience laughter in a given situation. Laughter can be contagious, that is when the laughter of one person evokes laughter from another person or people. It signals acceptance and positive interactions with others. There are different types of laughter and they can be classified as thus;


1) According to Intensity: chuckle, titter, giggle, chortle, cackle, belly laugh and sputtering burst
2)According to overtness: snicker, snigger, guffaw
3)According to respiratory pattern involved: snort
4)According to the emotion it is expressed with: relief, joy, happiness. embarrassment, confusion, evil
5)According to the sequence of notes or pitches it produces


Now to the part we've all being waiting for! almost bored myself to death talking about causes and types *yawn* *phew*. The benefits of laughter can be classified into two main categories: health and social. I'm supposed to concentrate on just the health benefits but I also don't see myself giving you my dear readers a half-baked cake, neither do I see the point in anybody else doing so. Besides, by W.H.O definition of health, it involves the physical, mental and social wellbeing of an individual and not just the absence of disease.We family physicians have also taken it up and incorporated into our practice hence the bio-psycho-social model. The benefits are as follows;

  • It reduces stress and helps you relax by reducing the stress hormones cortisol and epinephrine (adrenaline).
  • It protects the heart by improving vascular blood flow and lowers blood pressure
  • It boosts immunity by relieving stress as it is said that stress supresses the immune system
  • It is an effective pain relief by releasing endorphins much like when you exercise
  • Improves mood and adds joy and zest to life
  • Reduces fear and anxiety and enhances resilience
  • It strengthens relationships and promotes bonding and intimacy
  • Attracts other people to us and shows that we are part of a group
  • It helps to solve conflicts and awkward moment by reducing aggression and tension
  • It helps our coping skills and reaction to bad news
  • Helps the functioning of our vital organs like the lungs (clears the airways); heart (as stated above) and the brain ( boosts memory function in some studies).
  • Helps improve creativity, energy levels and alertness by also reducing stress.
  • It can serve as a form of exercise for the abdominal, respiratory, facial and back muscles.


Like they say too much of everything is not good, for example, the fact that music and dancing helps us to relax and unwind doesn't mean we should be at a club every night or continuous turn the volume of the radio to the highest, it may lead to headaches and partial deafness. Also sitting too close to the TV because you love movies may end up affecting your sight. Excessive laughter can lead to any of the following;
  • Cataplexy: a sudden temporary inability to move. Also caused by shock, fear or ecstasy.
  • Some types of laughter can be seen as a social ill especially when used in a derogatory manner.
  • Unpleasant laughter spells usually occur in people with some neurological conditions like multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's disease, mania e.t.c.
  • Laughter fit: when someone cannot control the laughter or their body and can lead to seizures of loss of consciousness.
Don't dwell much on these negative aspects, it's just for the sake of knowledge I added it. The benefits out-weighs the risk so go out there and have some fun - LAUGHING. Remember it is the only painless, priceless, non-swallow medicine that is fun, free and easy to use. I should know. *winks*

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