Have you ever sat on a bench in a busy passage and watched people walking by? I could do that for hours – it´s fun to me. However, one thing strikes me more and more: people do not smile. For some reason, most of them hang the corners of their mouth and look grim. Meanwhile, there are even laughter researchers (gelotologists), who have figured, that adults smile and laugh less and less. As a child, we laugh about 400 times a day, as adults, its down to 15 times. I wonder when and where the so-called serious side of life catches up and whether this seriousness exists at all, or whether we let others persuade us into believing it exists. Please think about this for yourself. However, laughing should have a higher priority than we assign it. I would like to clarify this in this weeks “Living consciously 13: Laughter and Smiles”.
There are 135 muscles in the body needed to make a laugh work. It starts under the eyes, moves to the muscles at the corners of the mouth, then to the neck and finally the abdominal muscles. In doing so, we put our bodies in a kind of positive state of stress, which causes more oxygen in the bloodstream, reduce stress hormones and strengthen our immune system. If you think about, that laughing is fun, we get a lot from it. Our blood vessels dilate, the circulation improves and the blood pressure drops. In addition, the pain sensitivity decreases by about 30%. These are just a few of the medical effects of showing teeth the lovely way. Incidentally, it brings even more benefits:
Laughing people are perceived as more attractive, more successful at flirting, more creative and less stressful, to only name a few. In my opinion, the biggest advantage of all is the lack of language barrier. Everybody, anywhere in the world, understands my laughter and gets infected. It does not matter if this person lives far away from civilization and only wears a loincloth, or is a globally famous personality – we are all wired in a similar way.
You need reasons to laugh out loud. Sometimes the memory of a situation, a joke, or something else causes your diaphragm to shake. In my opinion, loud laughter therefore involves interacting with the environment – animals, people, the TV, stickers and so on. The smile, however, is different. I can move the corners of my mouth without any intervention from anything. It´s a decision I make in my mind, that passes on to my muscles via the nerves. As I have already written in “Positivity“, our thoughts ultimately control our reality. Let´s suppose you are in a bad mood, but decide to smile with a single thought – it takes minutes, and your mood subsides. You can get yourself out of your negativity with this simple trick. As always: scientifically proven by trying yourself. But what science says about this, can actually be of no importance to the individual – the main thing is that it works, and it does.
Many people hold the opinion, that laughter and thus fun is inappropriate in some places. In a hospital therefore (in my opinion) people laugh too little. It is said, that laughter is the best medicine. To me, there is a lot of truth in this sentence, see above. Employers with a relaxed and open working environment report increased productivity, fewer absences and reduced physical and mental health problems of their employees. If you make someone laugh in a job interview, you´ve almost got the job. This one competitor stays in mind, as opposed to the dozen interchangeable faces that sat in the conversation before and after.
However, standing at a grave at a funeral would stop me from laughing – it does not belong there, after all – others want to mourn. At the funeral dinner, things are different to me. In my opinion, the funniest stories of the deceased should be told, to celebrate his life. As I can be sad at home or at an independent visit to the grave. Sensitivity is required here and the “reading of the moods / space”.
Generally we should laugh more. Simply pull the corners of your mouth upwards and make your fellow human beings laugh as often as possible. Some have talent for this, others are inspired by these people. To each his own. The important thing is, that you know, that you can positively influence yourself – just by a few muscles in the face and a thought.