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What happens to your body when you laugh

  1. Laughter is healthy! A statement that we hear regularly, but is it just a beautiful statement or is it really true? It has been proven that your body is positively affected by a burst of laughter. A substance is released that makes you happy. The substance is called endorphins. Also, different muscles in the face are used while laughing.

Brain and muscles

  1. Your face uses about 20 muscles when you smile. That is much less than frowning, for which you use no less than 40 muscles. When you smile, the muscles in your stomach and diaphragm also tighten. The tension in the other muscles in your body is low, hence the relaxed feeling. There are a few muscles that make a smile come about. One of these is the large cheekbone muscle, the zygomaticus major muscle, which moves the corners of the mouth. The laughing muscle, or the risorius muscle, pulls the corners of the mouth back to create a smile. And the orbicularis oculi muscle, the circular eye muscle, which causes the eyes to close.

Musculus zygomaticus major

  1. The large cheekbone muscle lies between the cheekbone and the corner of the mouth. The shape of the muscle is stretched out and narrow. He ensures that the corners of the mouth move upwards. This makes it almost a smile, but only a change has occurred in the position of the mouth. So many more muscles are needed for a "real" smile.

Musculus risorius

  1. The name laughing muscle says enough, because of this muscle you produce, just like the cheekbone muscle, a smile. But only in combination with the other muscles is it a real smile. The muscle is located on the sides of the mouth, moving from the corners of the mouth towards the ear. The muscle pulls the corners of the mouth to the side making it look like a smile. The shape of the muscle is irregular triangular and outstretched. The muscle is also used, among other things, when playing a wind instrument such as the trumpet.

Musculus orbicularis oculi

  1. The circular eye muscle is a muscle surrounding the eye. This muscle causes your eyes to close slightly. As a result, the skin next to the eyes is slightly pleated, also known as crow's feet. Another part of the circular eye muscle allows the tear sac to open and fill it with moisture. So this is why you get tears in your eyes when you laugh really hard. So these three muscles together are mainly needed in producing a smile. Due to the tightening of the muscles, the blood flow in your face is also better. Your face gets a kind of blush, and it looks like you are beaming.

When you smile you feel good, but how is that possible?

  1. A lot happens in your brain and the rest of your body when you smile. Your brain produces substances that make you feel good, and your body relaxes.

Endorphins

  1. Endorphins are small, protein-like substances in the nerve cells of your brain. They are painkillers, but also provide euphoria and a good feeling. These substances are created when, for example, eating chocolate, during exercise and when you laugh.

What actually happens in the rest of your body when you smile?

  1. Because you laugh, gamma interferon is released. Interferons are proteins produced in the cells of the immune system that are secreted after contact with viruses, fungi or bacteria. That would mean your immune system is getting worse. When you laugh a lot, a lot of interferons are released, so your immune system gets better.

Mirror neurons

  1. How is it possible that you have to laugh when someone else is also smiling? And why do you automatically wave your own hand when you see someone hit his finger with a hammer?

Neurons

  1. Neurons are cells that make up your brain. A neuron is a nerve cell that transmits impulses from the central nervous system to the muscles. The central nervous system is all the nerves of the brain and spinal cord together. A neuron consists of a cell body with a cell nucleus. And for the cell body dendrites, they receive signals from other nerve cells. The cell body has one very long and thick dendrite, the axon. These transmit signals to other cells. There are sometimes pieces of insulation around the axon, which are made up of fats and ensure that the impulse is passed on faster. Such a piece of insulation is called a myelin sheath. There are a lot of these nerve cells in your brain, there are 1012 in total.

Mirror neurons

  1. A lot of research is currently being done on mirror neurons. After a study in monkeys, the mirror neurons were discovered by accident, then they found out that there is a similar system of mirror neurons in humans. They found out during a study into the control of movements in the brain of monkeys. They did that research by implanting electrodes in the brain that each measure the activity of one nerve cell. One of the researchers would have walked into the lab while licking an ice cream. The test monkey sat still on a chair, while the computer suddenly indicated that the nerve cell was active. The activity of that cell would mean that the monkey is moving, which it was not. The nerve cell became active when it saw someone move.



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