The Surprising Health Benefits of Laughter

The phrase “Laughter is the best medicine” can now be taken literally. Here are a few amazing things that a good laugh can do for your health:

#1 Reduce Stress

In addition to making you feel less stressed due to humor or a positive outlook, laughter also physically relieves stress. First, a laughter response mimics a stress response with elevated heart rate and quick breathing. Then, as you stop laughing, that stress response dissipates, leaving you feeling more relaxed.

#2 Lower Blood Pressure

Studies have found that twenty to thirty minutes of laughter can lower blood pressure in healthy adults. This is an especially important effect of laughter, as high blood pressure can lead to serious health issues, including stroke, heart disease, and heart attack.

#3 Burn Calories

Next time laugh hard, pay attention to what’s happening in your body: shortness of breath, elevated heart rate and sometimes that feeling that your stomach is about to be torn apart.

This all points to the fact that laughter is a very good workout! In fact, ten to fifteen minutes of laughter burns about 50 calories.

#4 Reduce Pain

One study found that chronic pain patients experienced a 55% reduction in perception of pain after 8 weekly “laughter therapy” sessions. While laughter is unlikely to surpass the usefulness of analgesics in the treatment of pain, such laughter therapy could one day become a useful way of treating chronic pain without the negative aspects of painkillers.

#5 Lower Blood Sugar

Another study looked at diabetic patients, and found that the participants had lower blood sugar levels after attending a comedy show than they did after eating the same meal but attending a boring lecture.

#6 Strengthen Immune System

Stress can have a seriously negative effect on the immune system, with stress hormones and neuropeptides generally lowering the body’s defenses against sickness. By stopping stress with laughter, you give your body an immune boost and a better chance of protecting yourself from diseases.

#7 Aid Sleep

Sleep is an absolutely crucial part of health, with lack of sleep leading to everything from lack of concentration to high blood pressure.
Laughter leads to increased relaxation which makes it easy to get a good night’s sleep.

#8 Improve Blood Flow

A study at the University of Maryland found that people who watched comedies as part of the investigation tended to have better flow through blood vessels than the participants who watched dramas. Laughing, then, may help protect the health of your organs by bringing them the oxygenated blood that they need to work properly.

Children laugh an average of 300 times a day, whereas adults laugh less than 20 times a day. How often do you laugh?

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