What’s So Funny Doc? – Why you need to laugh more often!
It seems only natural that I would write an article on laughter. A day doesn’t pass in which my laugh isn’t recognized from another room. Is it because I genuinely think I am the funniest person in the world? Or do I just laugh easily? Either way, it has been known for ages that laughter really is the best medicine. Laughter has been around longer than speech itself, so it is only natural that research is catching up on highlighting its health benefits.
Laughing produces a general sense of well-being. Every time we laugh, it starts a cascade of physiological effects in our bodies: endorphins are released in the brain, which in turn activate cells in our blood vessels to release nitric oxide, which then increases blood flow and decreases inflammation. This in time may lead to less fat and cholesterol buildup in our arteries and make a heart attack less likely. Also, while we are releasing these feel good hormones, laughter allows us to suppress stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenalin. Even forced laughter releases a combination of hormones, neuropeptides, and dopamine that can start to improve your mood.
What the research says:
One study found that laughing out loud increased the level of natural killer cell activity within the body, boosting our body’s ability to fight off disease. Laughter could help people with rheumatoid arthritis by increasing anti-inflammatory markers in their blood. People in pain report being less bothered by the pain they experience when they laugh more often. Another study found that a group of people with diabetes had lower blood sugar levels after eating when they watched a comedy. Laughter has even been found to increase resilience and resilient people are more happy and successful!
-Lowers stress hormones
-Relaxes your muscles
-Prevents heart disease
-Eases anxiety and fear
How to get your daily laughs in:
-Watch something funny on TV, read the comics or listen to your favourite comedian.
-Laugh at yourself
-Surround yourself with children or people who have more fun
-Give laughter yoga a try
-Do something silly
-Surround yourself with reminders to lighten up
So why not start now??
-Laughter is the Best Medicine for Your Heart. 2009. From: http://umm.edu/news-and-events/news-releases/2009/laughter-is-the-best-medicine-for-your-heart
-Laughter is the Best Medicine The Health Benefits of Humor and Laughter. From: http://www.helpguide.org/articles/emotional-health/laughter-is-the-best-medicine.htm
- 6 Reasons Why Laughter Is the Best Medicine. From: http://www.chopra.com/articles/6-reasons-why-laughter-is-the-best-medicine