Emotional Intelligence

What happens to your body when you laugh?
Answered by Discovery Fit & Health
  • Discovery Fit & Health

    Discovery Fit & Health

  1. When you laugh, you aren't just making sounds -- your whole body is engaged in the laughter. In fact, there are 15 different muscles in your face alone that participate in laughter. Your respiratory system gets involved as well, which is why you can sometimes find breathing difficult, or even get the hiccups, while laughing. Your epiglottis is vibrating, half-closing over your larynx. This makes it more difficult to breathe. As your air intake ebbs and flows, the relative strength of your laughter will follow suit. If your struggle for oxygen is strong enough, this will activate your tear ducts. Lastly, the force of laughter causes muscle contractions throughout your body -- in your limbs, your diaphragm and your back.

    For something that's so much fun to do, it seems like laughter should be easier on the body. But what about another sharp emotion, such as anger? It turns out that emotion packs a wallop too. The emotion of anger is believed to be able to affect your health, positively and negatively. Those who believe anger can have some positive effects limit that assertion to proportional expressions of anger. Anger that is extreme, persistent, or possibly even violent, can have considerably negative effects beyond just the experience of being angry. Extreme or persistent anger can manifest itself in one's bodily health, contributing to physical stress. Frequent anger may even hasten the onset of atherosclerosis, ultimately damaging the arterial walls over time WebMD. Peripherally, frequent anger can also lead to risky or harmful behaviors.

    Simply being angry isn't, in and of itself, harmful to the body, so long as it's experienced in moderation. Expressing displeasure about something, "getting it out," can be very helpful; it's the anger that comes with a harder, more explosive edge that can nudge a body toward heart disease WebMD.

    It might not be surprising to know that, so far, science hasn't found good cause to caution us against laughing.


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