It appears that laughter may be the best medicine for both your body and your mind.
A recent study from Loma Linda University found that joyful laughter produces brain waves that are similar to those associated with deep meditation. When engaging in mirthful laughter, participants produced brain gamma wave band frequencies much like what’s seen in people who reach a state of contentment and happiness through meditative practice.
To gather this information, researchers had 31 participants watch several short videos. Humorous clips induced the above mentioned brain activity, while spiritual videos sparked brain activity similar to when a person is at rest. Clips that were distressful in nature evoked flat brain wave bands, which is associated with detachment and escape.
Researchers say that joyful laughter gives the brain a workout and allows for clearer thinking and more integrative thoughts.
“This is of great value to individuals who need or want to revisit, reorganize, or rearrange various aspects of their lives or experiences, to make them feel whole or more focused,” principal investigator Dr. Lee Berk of Loma Linda University said in a statement.
The study suggests that humor associated with mirthful laughter could be a beneficial lifestyle intervention that supports wholeness, better health and overall wellness. It seems the act of laughing may also improve symptoms related to chronic medical conditions.
Laughter has long been associated with health benefits. A separate study out of Loma Linda University found a link between laughing and improved memory recall. A case of the giggles can also decrease cortisol (also known as the stress hormone).
By Marianne Hayes