Laugh it up

I love to laugh. I laugh at myself often, or with my office mate & bitrebel’s co-writer, Rob MacKay. It breaks up our day, and creates a fun environment for us to work through our sometimes tough days. So why do we laugh? How does it become “the best medicine”?

The What: Its an audible expression or appearance of happiness, or an inward feeling of joy. But lets be clear: “Laughter is not the same as humor. Laughter is the physiological respo­nse to humor. Laughter consists of two parts — a set of gestures and the production of a sound. When we laugh, the brain pressures us to conduct both those activities simultaneously. When we laugh heartily, changes occur in many parts of the body, even the arm, leg and trunk muscles”. Behavioral neuro-biologist Robert Provine, found in one of his studies that the sonic structure of laughter, consists of variations on a basic form that consists of short, vowel-like notes repeated every 210 milliseconds. Laughter can be of the “ha-ha-ha” variety or the “ho-ho-ho” type but not a mixture of both, he says. Provine also suggests that humans have a “detector” that responds to laughter by triggering other neural circuits in the brain, which, in turn, generates more laughter. This explains why laughter is contagious. ” (source)

The Why: Many researchers believe that the purpose of laughter is related to making and strengthening human connections. We laugh when we are comfortable with the people around us, when we feel free and not judged. The more we laugh the more groups of people bond together. Several of these studies have also revealed that people with dominant roles, ie The Boss Man, often use laughter to engage with people on their teams. “It becomes a way of exercising power by controlling the emotional climate of the group.”

The How: There are 3 theories of why we laugh. We’ll let the scientists explain this part :)

Now its time to put our new knowledge into action, laugh it up!

PS Did you know Adults only laugh an average of 15-20 times a day, whereas children laugh 400+ times a day?