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Laughter Therapy – how is it useful and in what ways…

Humor is not the same as laughter. Humor is a technology for provoking laughter. Laughter is the physiological response to humor. One of the common misconception is that laughter is unique to human species. Actually, it is not the case. Virtually, all mammals laugh, in one form or another. Laughter did come to us from animals, as a matter of natural selection, indeed a survival tool.
– Laughter is inborn, in fact it is the first social vocalization emitted by infants. It seems that laughter has a biological basis, rooted in our genes, and although different cultures have their own norms concerning the types of situations in which laughter is considered appropriate, as the sounds of laughter are themselves indistinguishable from one culture to another.
– Laughter is not about jokes though the two may appear inseparable. Laughter is primarily a social lubricant, not a response to funny situations. The fact that laughter works as a glue, holding people together.
– Laughter is as contagious as a yawn. Our brains respond to emotive sounds, this response occurs in the area of the brain that is activated when we smile, as though preparing our facial muscles to laugh. Our laughter and the other person’s laughter tend to become intertwined and antiphonal.
– Laughter lowers the levels of stress hormones and thereby reducing the risk of heart attacks. Stress is associated with damage to the inner lining of blood vessels which encourages inflammation and plaque which with resulting arterial stiffening can lead to heart attack.
– Laughter is a coping mechanism in cancer.
– Laughter is an immune system booster. It rev up the body’s production of antibodies and enhance the activation of the body’s protective cells that destroy tumor cells and viruses.
– Laughter helps along weight loss as you burn more calories when you laugh. By reducing levels of stress hormone, laughter helps you grapple with that bogey.
– Laughter improves the appetite eve as it helps you burn calories. The appetite boosting seems to occur via the effect that laughter has on the levels of the appetite hormones.
– Laughter acts as a survival tool. If laughter underlies intimacy, it can also facilitate distance from emotional pain. To laugh in a painful or distressing situation is not to avoid emotional reckoning, but to gain perspective needed to make the experience productive.

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