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Why Laughter Is the Best Medicine

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If you've had a good laugh recently, keep it up: science shows there are numerous reasons why laughing is good for you.

Knock, knock. Who's there? Longevity and health—so long as you nail the punchline. The adage about laughter being the best medicine is actually doctor-approved and recommended. Chocked full of mental, emotional and physical benefits, laughing not only makes us feel happy and relaxed, but allows us to live longer, be healthier and provides an edge when battling ailments like mental illness. Laughter helps combat stress by increasing blood flow throughout the body, boosts the immune system, heightens your threshold for pain and even assists in facilitating better breathing. The boost in blood flow helps break down blockages in arteries caused by stress and anxiety, releasing an uptick of T-cells, B-cells and Gamma-interferons—cells and proteins that fight against disease. (Bonus points if you're a woman, who tend to make audiences laugh 127 percent more than their male counterparts.)

Unsurprisingly, research also found that laughing among company enhances cooperation, signals social bonding and can stimulate romance between joke teller and listener. With a seemingly unending list of positive side effects, it's hard to deny the importance of laughter in life. So if you're feeling blue, invite a few pals over for a giggly—and subsequently healthy—night in with friends.

04:18
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You know what's funny? Why people laugh. Hank talks about the science of laughter: what makes us laugh, what purpose it serves, and even what it can tell us about our mental and physical health. Hilarious! Like SciShow? Want to help support us, and also get things to put on your walls, cover your torso and hold your liquids? Check out our awesome products over at DFTBA Records: http://dftba.com/artist/52/SciShow -- Looking for SciShow elsewhere on the internet? Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/scishow Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/scishow Tumblr: http://scishow.tumblr.com Sources for this episode: http://science.howstuffworks.com/life/laughter2.htm http://news.rutgers.edu/research/serious-question-why-20091014#.UfqhMNLviSo http://www.nbcnews.com/id/3077386/ns/technology_and_science-science/t/big-mystery-why-do-we-laugh/#.UfqqD9LviSo http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=ask-the-brains-why-do-we-laugh http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4yVE0We52Lc http://phys.org/news/2011-02-falls.html http://www.rightdiagnosis.com/sym/laughter.htm#intro http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/24/animals-laugh-_n_1900493.html
03:50
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  • 1 0:31

    The average person laughs 17 times a day.

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  • 2 1:58

    The origins of laughter may lie in a sigh of relief expressed by our ancient ancestors after a frightening incident.

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  • 3 2:40

    Laughter helps us to relax by shutting off a valve that transports stress and adrenaline throughout the body.

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What's going on in our brains when we laugh? Share on Facebook: http://goo.gl/IlIhrm Share on Twitter: http://goo.gl/kw4J2D Subscribe: http://goo.gl/ZYI7Gt Visit our site: http://www.brainstuffshow.com
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02:02
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Watch more Self-Help & Improvement videos: http://www.howcast.com/videos/356281-How-to-Journal-for-Therapy Having a sense of humor – and bringing it out in others – can help you in every area of your life. Learn why it's so important to lighten up. Step 1: Increase your sex appeal Increase your sex appeal by finding the funny side of situations; research indicates that a good sense of humor makes a person more sexually attractive. And be sure to poke fun at yourself: Self-deprecating humor is the most seductive kind of all. Tip Women especially find a good sense of humor attractive in a partner. Step 2: Get ahead at work Take your work seriously, but don't take yourself too seriously at work. Executives with a good sense of humor get promoted more quickly and earn more money than somber peers, according to one report. Step 3: Improve your health Improve your health by finding things to chuckle about every day: Research shows that laughter improves the function of blood vessels, may boost the immune system, and might even help prevent heart disease. Step 4: Improve your outlook Find things to laugh out loud about: Studies show that hearty laughter – even if it's forced – reduces stress and increases endorphins. One study found that endorphin levels rose 27% in subjects who were simply anticipating seeing their favorite funny video. Tip Get laughing with the help of a laughter club, where people get together to laugh out loud. Or try laughter yoga. Step 5: Feel less pain Watch a comedy if you're hurting. Laughter can help you withstand pain. Step 6: Lose weight Laugh off your weight woes. Laughter burns calories; do it 15 minutes a day and you could chuckle off up to two pounds a year. And that's no joke. Did You Know? The average preschooler laughs over 100 times a day, compared to just 15 times a day for the average adult.
01:54
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Laughing is weird if you think about it- a physical response to something we find funny, or even uncomfortable. Guest host Annie Gaus explains why we do it. Read More: DO ANIMALS LAUGH http://www.livescience.com/6946-joke-animals-laugh.html "Life can be funny, and not just for humans. Studies by various groups suggest monkeys, dogs and even rats love a good laugh. People, meanwhile, have been laughing since before they could talk." Is laughter really the best medicine? http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2013-12/bmj-ilr121013.php "Laughter may not be the best medicine after all and can even be harmful to some patients, suggests the authors of a paper published in the Christmas edition of The BMJ. Researchers from Birmingham and Oxford, in the UK, reviewed the reported benefits and harms of laughter. They used data published between 1946 and 2013. They concluded that laughter is a serious matter." Is laughter really the best medicine? http://www.bmj.com/press-releases/2013/12/12/laughter-really-best-medicine "Laughter may not be the best medicine after all and can even be harmful to some patients, suggests the authors of a paper published in the Christmas edition of The BMJ." Laughter and MIRTH (Methodical Investigation of Risibility, Therapeutic and Harmful): narrative synthesis http://www.bmj.com/content/347/bmj.f7274.pdf%2Bhtml 10 Reasons Why Laughing Is Good for You http://dsc.discovery.com/tv-shows/curiosity/topics/10-reasons-why-laughing-good-for-you.htm "Have you ever had that exhausted feeling after a good laugh? You know, the one where your side hurts, your eyes water, you can't catch your breath and your body's totally spent. It feels like you've just finished a two-hour session at the gym." Watch More: Why Are We Ticklish? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jWyJf8UhOD8 TestTube Wild Card http://testtube.com/dnews/dnews-467-tastedifferences?utm_source=YT&utm_medium=DNews&utm_campaign=DNWC Why We Can't Tickle Ourselves http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z7YY8rSKF_M ____________________ DNews is dedicated to satisfying your curiosity and to bringing you mind-bending stories & perspectives you won't find anywhere else! New videos twice daily. Watch More DNews on TestTube http://testtube.com/dnews Subscribe now! http://www.youtube.com/subscription_center?add_user=dnewschannel DNews on Twitter http://twitter.com/dnews Anthony Carboni on Twitter http://twitter.com/acarboni Laci Green on Twitter http://twitter.com/gogreen18 Trace Dominguez on Twitter http://twitter.com/trace501 DNews on Facebook http://facebook.com/dnews DNews on Google+ http://gplus.to/dnews Discovery News http://discoverynews.com
06:31
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Cartoonist Robert Mankoff has dedicated his career to understanding humor. He talks to Big Think about the science behind laughter and its importance to both humans and other animals.
02:45
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Watch more How to Relieve Stress videos: http://www.howcast.com/videos/347428-How-to-Achieve-Total-Relaxation True serenity comes from within, but even Buddhists can use a little jump start now and then. Step 1: Laugh often Laugh as often as you can. It causes your heart rate and blood pressure to drop dramatically, leaving your feeling profoundly relaxed. Tip People with a strong sense of humor are less prone to depression and anxiety. Step 2: Find time for friends Find time for friends and family. Researchers who studied very content people found that every single one was extremely outgoing and reported strong social bonds. Step 3: Take charge Take charge of your life—even if that means standing up to a controlling loved one or finding a job that gives you more freedom. Confronting a troubling issue now will ensure more serenity later. Step 4: Do what you love Start a career doing what you love. A Swedish study found that people who work hard at something they find fulfilling are more satisfied with their lives. Tip No matter how much you love your job, take vacations: people who don't are more susceptible to heart attacks! Step 5: Don't feel guilty Be a couch potato without guilt. A study of women who kept a daily mood diary found that watching TV at night was their daily relaxation peak. Step 6: Sleep more Get more sleep. A major impediment to serenity is fatigue due to lack of sleep. Step 7: Return to nature Go for a hike, take a walk on the beach, or garden—just get outside. Scientists believe that we're actually hard-wired to relax when we're in the presence of the natural world, including plants and animals. Step 8: Go with the "flow" Go with the "flow," which is the state of intense well-being that occurs when we are so immersed in an activity that we lose all track of time—researchers say this is a key to contentment. Step 9: Keep a gratitude journal Keep a gratitude journal. Studies show it helps us want what we already have — the true key to happiness. Did You Know? The well-known "serenity prayer," attributed to Reinhold Niebuhr, says, "Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference."
01:25
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Watch more Self-Help & Improvement videos: http://www.howcast.com/videos/351300-How-to-Use-Mental-Imagery-to-Improve-Your-Life Whether it is laughing, taking time to smell the roses, or dancing, follow this road to happiness. Step 1: Keep a positive perspective Keep a positive outlook. Focus on all of the wonderful things in your life such as family, friends, and your accomplishments. Tip Do not base your happiness on how much money you make. Wealth does not bring happiness. Mo' money, mo' problems. Step 2: Write what you are grateful for Write down on paper the things that you are thankful for every day. Step 3: Make goals Make realistic goals for yourself and celebrate your progress. Step 4: Engage in activities Engage in activities that demand physical and mental activity. Step 5: Develop relationships Invest your time and energy in your family and friends to develop and keep meaningful relationships. Step 6: Live in the moment Live in the moment and enjoy experiences as they happen. Embrace what you are doing and with whom you are doing it. Step 7: Volunteer Volunteer and help others in need. It is beneficial to all parties involved. Step 8: Think small Think small. Instead of worrying about things in the big picture that you can't control, think about little things that make you smile, such as a song or movie you like or a friendship that's important to you. Did You Know? Volunteering helps build self-esteem and confidence while helping strengthen communities and improving lives.
01:59
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It might surprise some people to learn that laughter and yoga have a very close relationship. Learn about laughter and yoga training with help from a longtime fitness trainer in this free video clip. Expert: Lorilyn Haubrich Bio: Lorilyn Haubrich is a longtime, dedicated fitness trainer who began practicing the art and science of yoga over 20 years ago. Filmmaker: David Kumpe Series Description: Yoga can be an invaluable tool when it comes to both relieving pain and improving your general health and movement. Use yoga to improve health with help from a longtime fitness trainer in this free video series.