Can you actually laugh away your fibromyalgia and chronic illness symptoms? What happens to the physical body when we laugh? Getting a good laugh out of life does much more than give you a temporary feel-good buzz. Check out the How and Why we laugh in Part 1 of this article on the healing benefits of laughter.
Can You Laugh Away Your Fibromyalgia and Chronic Illness Symptoms?
Have you ever laughed yourself silly? If you did, what you may not know is that while you laughed, you activated dozens of muscles throughout your body. Laughter is both a mind and body experience. As such, laughing can prove beneficial for the fibromyalgia body in more ways than you may have considered.
Of course, these benefits aren’t only for those of us who deal with fibromyalgia and chronic illness symptoms. Everyone benefits, which is one good reason for laughter being so contagious.
Speaking of infectious laughter, have you noticed the outrageous popularity of pet videos? Entertainingly funny dogs and cats are the most searched for subjects topics online. Cat videos (in particular) are forwarded and shared in social media posts almost more than any other form of humor.
Sharing comedy with others isn’t anything new. From medieval court jesters to early slapstick films, and up to current TV sitcoms, society has laughed both with and at the antics of others. If you’re old enough, you may remember the pratfall that received weekly laughs on the Dick Van Dyke Show. Even though we knew it was coming, each time Dick cartwheeled over his ottoman, someone in my family giggled. It was usually my dad and the laughter spread to everyone else in the room.
Why Do We Laugh?
I’ll share several beneficial reasons for laughter in Part 2 of this article. But here’s a bit of background first. Have you ever wondered why we laugh in the first place? You may not think about it, but laughter is actually an important form of communication.
We may laugh for a variety of reasons including when we’re happy, nervous, overtired, or trying to fit in with others. Laughing can help us to feel connected, secure, and relaxed.
If you’re the one doing the talking, laughter can help to put people at ease, to show confidence, and to lighten the mood. If you’re the listener, laughing can show that you’re engaged, grasp the topic at hand, and that you’re part of the social group.
To learn more specifics about the physical act of laughing – including breathing patterns – watch this fun TED talk about WHY we laugh.
How We Laugh
Do you produce rhythmic, vocalized, expiratory, and involuntary actions? That’s a complicated way to explain what happens when we laugh. There are various sounds, a rush of breath, and sometimes other body motions that may occur. These include waving arms, bending over at the waist, or placing hands to the face. It all depends to what degree you find your funny bone tickled.
Not everyone laughs at the same things.
(This graphic is case-in-point.)
Children seem to find more reasons for infectious laughter than adults. Apparently, we become more discerning as we age. Adults laugh, on average, about 15 times per day as opposed to about 400 times per day for children.
Laughing uses approximately 15 facial muscles as well as muscles in the intercostal ribcage and the diaphragm. In fact (if you do it right), a robust bout of laughter can be a whole body experience. Laughing vigorously can provide the equivalent physical benefits of about 10 minutes of a rowing exercise or 15 minutes of an exercise bicycle.
Decisions, decisions ….
Either hit the gym or laugh?
I know which one I’d choose!
Coming Attraction: Laughter Benefits and Encouragements
Be sure to check in next week where I’ll share the Top 10 Benefits of Laughter for everybody (including the fibromyalgia and chronic illness body)! I’ll also share ways to bring more laughter into your life.
What makes you laugh? What benefits do you derive from laughter? Share your experiences in the comments below.
View part 2 of this article HERE!