Is laughter really the best medicine?
Posted by Stethoscope.com on Sep 5th 2019
While people have been repeating the old adage "laughter is the best medicine" for ages, you might not realize how much evidence there actually is to support that theory! If you're interested in learning how laughter can help support your cardiovascular health, then read on for some good reasons to make time for a laugh every day.
Boosts blood flow & blood vessel function
Having a good laugh dilates the endothelium, or the inner lining of your blood vessels. This encourages better blood flow and actually delivers similarly positive effects to those you'd get from aerobic exercise or a vigorous walk.
The effects of laughter on your blood flow are also immediate, giving you a near-instant boost by providing your muscles with a refreshing burst of oxygen-rich blood. Laughter gets your heart pumping as well, making it a great supplement to your exercise routine!
Reduces stress hormones
There's a solid reason why laughing can make you feel better in the long run: Enjoying a good round of laughter will help to decrease your body's production of stress hormones, such as cortisol and epinephrine, helping you to feel less irritable and more relaxed.
Laughing also directly undermines physiological symptoms of stress such as tightened blood vessels and tense muscles, leaving you feeling happier.
Reduces inflammation in the arteries
The increased blood flow and hormonal changes brought on by laughter can greatly decrease the likelihood of blockages in your arteries along with lowering the overall risk of heart disease.
Getting your heart pumping with a good laugh makes it far less likely for fat, plaque, and bad cholesterol to build up on the inner walls of your arteries. Chronic stress makes you more likely to develop life-threatening conditions such as blood clots, and laughter helps to diffuse stress and reduce these risks.
Boosts your immune system
Laughter can actually boost your body's production of the cells that create antibodies, meaning that you'll be less vulnerable to all sorts of pathogens.
By increasing your body's number of T-cells and dramatically increasing your Secretory Immunoglobulin levels, enjoying a good round of laughter can help make your immune system much more capable of fighting off illnesses--even tricky ones like the common cold.
Lowers blood pressure & boosts "good" cholesterol.
Having a good laugh can improve your cardiovascular health by lowering your systolic blood pressure alongside reducing your bad cholesterol levels.
Laughing can result in the reduction of hypertension in both the short and long-term, cutting back on the risk of heart disease and stroke. The effects of laughter in this area have been compared to those of reducing sodium intake and losing a few pounds.
Find ways to laugh every day
The health benefits of laughter are not to be ignored, and you should engage in sessions of laughter each day in order to gain the most benefits.
Ways to encourage laughter in your daily life might include catching an episode or two of your favorite comedy show, engaging in lighthearted interactions with friends and family, or practicing laughter yoga. Making time for recreational activities, doing silly things, and playing with pets or children are other great ways to have a laugh and boost your health.