Laughter and Health - How They are Interrelated

laughter

While you might think that you need to see many doctors and take many medications in order to remain healthy, researchers now believe that laughter is actually the best medicine and the best way to stay healthy. Laughing can relax the body and reduce the risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, strokes, arthritis, and other serious illnesses. It can rid the body of negative emotions -such as stress, anger, anxiety, and depression, which have all been proven to lead to heart disease. Some other benefits are:

  1. Laughter can help lower blood pressure. Research has shown that people who laugh on a regular basis tend to have lower blood pressure than the average person. When laughing, breathing becomes heavier and this sends more oxygen through the body. This allows for blood pressure to rise when laughing and then fall to levels below normal after laughing.
  2. A good laugh can actually be equivalent to a good workout. Laughing can work out your diaphragm, respiratory, back, leg, and facial muscles. It also is a great way to boost your heart rate and increase digestion. Researchers believe that a good laugh can burn approximately the same number of calories as riding an exercise bike for a few minutes. One study concluded that laughing for 10-15 minutes can burn about 50 calories.
  3. Laughter can change the biochemical makeup of the body. It will decrease the amount of stress hormones that the body is releasing, while increasing beneficial infection-fighting antibodies.
  4. While relieving stress, laughter can also help improve brain functioning. Since the body is producing less stress-causing hormones, the muscles in the brain relax. This allows the brain to become more alert and retain more information.
  5. Finally, laughing can protect the heart from heart attacks. Research has shown that people with heart disease laugh approximately 40% less than people without heart disease.

In order to gain the benefits of laughter, it is important to allow yourself time to laugh every day. For example, watch comedy TV, listen to comedy when driving, and make friends with funny people. You should understand that humor is good, so don't take life and yourself so seriously! Be sure to laugh at yourself and have fun!

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