Much like exercise, laugh hard enough and your muscles will begin to ache. Similar to physical exertion, when we laugh the elation we feel combats the effects of stress, our body relaxes and endorphins (natural painkillers) are released into the blood stream.
Last week Fresh Tracks ran our first Laughter Workout at a conference for a team from the BBC. This 45 minute energiser led by our expert Amanda Bate had some participants crying with laughter. Although different people respond in different ways everyone felt able to participate and even the most reserved delegate came away having felt a natural high.
Dr Lee Berk of Loma University, California, has studied the effects of laughter. Blood samples taken from subjects who had watched comedy revealed that cortisol (the hormone our body releases when under stress) had decreased more rapidly in comparison to those who hadn’t.
Berk’s research also shows that the level of natural killer cells (a type of immune cell that attacks virus and even tumour cells) is increased through laughter. These same cells are suppressed if the body suffers consistent long-term stress.
So, be sure to get your laughter quota today and if you are planning a conference why not incorporate some corporate laughter therapy.