Laughing is a positive behavior that lowers stress levels and rebalances the body. It reduces heart rates, tames the fight-or-flight response, and prevents the release of neurotransmitters and hormones that wear down the cardiovascular and metabolic systems over time.
Identifying the triggers of your nervous laughter can help you replace it with something more empowering. Track where, when, and with whom you tend to laugh nervously to get a sense of the pattern.
Laughter is good for your health
Laughing is the body’s natural stress relief medicine. It stimulates organs, increases blood flow, and releases endorphins to help you feel good. It also reduces stress hormone levels, which can improve your quality of life and cognitive function.
Authentic laughter helps to build and strengthen connection with others, whether in your romantic relationships or among friends and family members. Humor can smooth over disagreements, lower tensions, and promote communication that unites instead of divides.
Studies have shown that laughing can improve our mood, boost our immune system, and relieve pain. In addition, laughing can also help us think more clearly and creatively. It can also reduce our anxiety levels and increase our energy, so it is the perfect stress-busting exercise. Laughing and smiling can also stimulate healing gamma waves in the brain, similar to those generated by long-term meditators. This may be the reason why people who meditate often find themselves laughing. Laughing may even burn 10-40 calories per session.
It’s a social cue
Laughter is often a response to a sense of humor or surprise. It is also a social cue that demonstrates to others you are enjoying their company. Smiling is a precursor to laughter, and it can be contagious. Practice smiling more, and see what effect it has on those around you.
Among nonverbal vocalizations, chuckles and belly laughs are the most likely to signal affiliation, positive mood and polite agreement. In fact, public speakers often aim to get a laugh from their audience in order to establish a connection with them.
Laughter can be spontaneous or volitional, and studies have found that listeners are better able to differentiate between the two. Volitional vocal modulation is thought to rely on different production mechanisms and perceptual properties than spontaneous laughter, but both have an equally positive impact. Research has also shown that listeners deem volitional laughter more authentic and genuine. Interestingly, it has been suggested that this may be because of the way listeners interpret the meaning of laughter in their culture.
It’s a sign of engagement
Laughing is a social cue unrelated to humor and is used as an affiliative gesture to strengthen interpersonal relations. In fact, people are 30% more likely to laugh when they are with a friend than alone. Laughter can also be used to signal positive emotions, such as enjoyment, interest, and approval.
Another important characteristic of laughter is its timing. It typically occurs at the end of an utterance and often synchronizes with smiling. This timing makes it a crucial component of the social world of conversation.
If you tend to laugh nervously, try to identify the source of your behavior and find ways to replace it with something more appropriate. You can start by tracking when you laugh and with whom, and over what time period. Eventually, you may notice a pattern and be able to stop laughing at inappropriate moments. Also, consider seeing a therapist or keeping a journal to help you work through your emotions.
It’s a sign of friendship
Many people believe that smiles and laughter are involuntary responses to things that make us happy or content, but research suggests that smiling may be more of a conscious social cue than an internal feeling. A smile is a signal of affiliation that conveys positive intention, trustworthiness, belongingness, compassion and social connection. It is a play signal that evolved from mammalian play signals and helps to prolong playful interactions with others.
Laughter is also one of the signs of friendship, especially when it is shared by two friends. They have inside jokes that only they understand and share a bond that goes beyond words.
If your friend doesn’t reciprocate your smiles and laughter, it is a sign that the friendship is fading. Pinpointing where the problem lies may help you address it and save the relationship. Laughing with someone who doesn’t reciprocate your jokes is not fun for either of you. In addition, if you don’t feel comfortable laughing with someone else, it is probably best to move on from the relationship.