Well folks, it’s true: laughter is one one of the best and cheapest forms of medicine out there. According to the latest research, laughing puts you in the same state as a deep meditation and can dramatically improve your health.
Researchers at Loma Linda university went on to investigate its effects on the stress hormone, cortisol, more specifically cortisol’s effect on the brain and it’s destructive impact on the body.
To no one’s surprise, they found its negative effects reduced, offering a possible and more pleasant alternative to treating patients with heart problems, hypertension and diabetes. I know I’d much rather sit through an episode of “I love Lucy” instead of poking needles in my body every couple of hours. Plus I can’t wait for my insurance to cover my movie tickets under “therapy”.
A good belly laugh warms up your intestines and also helps with memory recall, releasing and stimulating the same brain waves as meditation.
“Things are simple: the less stress one has, the better his memory is,” says Dr. Lee Berk, who took part in the study. “Humor reduces the destructive action of hormones associated with stress such as cortisol, which acts on hippocampal neurons responsible for memory function, and reduces the levels of blood pressure, thus improving our mood” explains the researcher.
“Laughter stimulates the release of endorphins and dopamine in the brain, giving us a sense of satisfaction and reward. These beneficial neurochemical changes, in turn, make the immune system work better,” says Dr. Berk
Laugh for Better Health
The Benefits of Laughter
A good laugh has great short-term effects. When you start to laugh, it doesn’t just lighten your load mentally, it actually induces physical changes in your body. Laughter can:
- Stimulate many organs. Laughter enhances your intake of oxygen-rich air, stimulates your heart, lungs and muscles, and increases the endorphins that are released by your brain.
- Activate and relieve your stress response. A rollicking laugh fires up and then cools down your stress response and increases your heart rate and blood pressure. The result? A good, relaxed feeling.
- Soothe tension. Laughter can also stimulate circulation and aid muscle relaxation, both of which help reduce some of the physical symptoms of stress.
Laughter isn’t just a quick pick-me-up, though. It’s also good for you over the long haul. Laughter may:
- Improve your immune system. Negative thoughts manifest into chemical reactions that can affect your body by bringing more stress into your system and decreasing your immunity. In contrast, positive thoughts actually release neuropeptides that help fight stress and potentially more-serious illnesses.
- Relieve pain. Laughter may ease pain by causing the body to produce its own natural painkillers. Laughter may also break the pain-spasm cycle common to some muscle disorders.
- Increase personal satisfaction. Laughter can also make it easier to cope with difficult situations. It also helps you connect with other people.
- Improve your mood. Many people experience depression, sometimes due to chronic illnesses. Laughter can help lessen your depression and anxiety and make you feel happier (source).
Laughing, or even just smiling automatically puts you in a better mood and, unless you’re in New York, gets you a better response from strangers on the street. Start practicing, make it a daily habit and watch your health improve. Allow me to start you off:
Why did the chicken cross the playground?
To get to the other slide.