How Often Do You Laugh? Do You Know that Laughing Increases Your Pain Tolerance?
This is according to several British studies which can be found in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B, a journal published by Britain’s de-facto Academy of Sciences.
Researchers performed the experiments this way: volunteers were shown comedy (funny) video or movie clips from the famous TV show “Mr Bean” and “Friends,” and non-funny or non-humorous video or movie clips such as golf and wildlife, while their resistance to mild pain was monitored.
These are the findings of the said studies:
- 15 minutes of laughter increased the level of pain tolerance by as much as 10%;
- The neutral, non-funny or non-humorous video clips or movies had no pain-alleviating effect at all;
- The only laughter that worked was the genuine, relaxed, unforced laughter that creases the eyes; and
- This kind of laughter is more likely to happen when a person is with a good company or is not alone.
What could be the reason behind this? What takes or numbs the pain away?
Researchers are pointing to a complex chemical called endorphin which helps transmit messages between neurons and dulls signals of physical pain and psychological stress. So what happens is that when a person laughs, the endorphin is released from the involuntary and repetitive muscular exertion brought about by exhaling without drawing a breath (what happens when you’re laughing).
So, if you are feeling any mild pain, before taking any pain-reliever, try watching Mr Bean first, or maybe a comedy movie or show that promises to make you pee in your seat. Who knows a dose of laughter is all you really need.
But, if the pain is severe, or if you are worried it might be a symptom of something else, it is very important that you go see your doctor immediately.
And one more thing: laughing helps keep one feeling and looking young, so laugh as much as you can!