Can Hiring a Professional “Laugher” Improve One’s Health?
Obviously, we laugh when we feel good, and laughing inevitably makes us feel better, so which one exactly comes first? Are they inseparable? Is one truth actually greater than the other? Scientists are starting to research laughing, and they’re coming up with some interesting answers.
According to a recent article in the NY Times, there’s a lot to think about here. According to the articles main subject, Robin Dunbar (an evolutionary psychologist at Oxford), “the answer […] is not the intellectual pleasure of cerebral humor, but the physical act of laughing. The simple muscular exertions involved in producing the familiar ha, ha, ha, […] trigger an increase in endorphins, the brain chemicals known for their feel-good effect.]
Laughing and Social / Group Situations
Comparing laughing in social situations to our ancestor’s acts of grooming and delousing each other once upon a time, Dr. Dunbar suggests that laughing can indeed promote and foster closeness, increasing the bonds that we all share with and feel for each other.
Figuring out the correlative relationship between laughter and wellness is one thing. But figuring out exactly where laughter comes from remains a mystery.
Read the full NY Times article by James Gorman, from September 13, 2011: Scientists Hint at Why Laughter Feels So Good
Read the full findings of Dr. Dunbar in Proceedings of the Royal Society here: Social laughter is correlated with an elevated pain threshold.
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