How Laughter Impacts the Brain

Laughter, such a joyful, intense emotion yet very poorly understood from a brain perspective.

As a Psychologist I work to cultivate resiliency in my clients, with one of the prominent factors of resiliency being a sense of humor. We all intuitively know that a sense of humor is a precious commodity and yet we do not “invest” in as heavily as we probably could!

Within the field of neuroscience, we have become increasingly excited about the range of new tools we have to measure various regions of the brain as they get activated by experiences and emotions. Functional MRI’s and qEEG maps are new brain mapping techniques that are giving us a peek into some regions of the brain we had not previously explored.

Laughter is definitely a WHOLE brain activity that bathes the brain with wonderful neurochemicals that boost a person’s immune system, heal “broken neurons” and most importantly regulate the brain.

Scientists that have studied the brain notice that the entire cerebral cortex lights up when a person laughs. There are specific regions of the brain that are involved when one laughs. Each region regulates a specific biological function in the body, which is why laughter has such a positive effect on the overall health of a person.

Here is an article that gives the exact regions of the brain that are activated with laughter:

http://science.howstuffworks.com/life/laughter3.htm

The following are articles that are research based and these can be cited in my appearance:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2249748/

What is most exciting in Neuropsychology and Brain research are treatment modalities that are being utilized much more in balancing the brain. One such treatment modality is Neurofeedback, which is one of the primary treatment modalities we utilize at Healthy Within Brain Institute. Neurofeedback regulates the positive and negative charges in the brain which result in an identical response as one has with laughter!!

This is exciting because it means we can actually treat the brain and cultivate a sense of humor through Neurofeedback. This then results in more heightened resiliency, better stress response, better health and cheaper medical costs! Perhaps we can use laughter to overhaul the medical system!!!