10 Health Benefits Of Laughter
When you laugh, whether recounting a story or when watching a live comedy show, it really is the best medicine when it comes to your health. Laughter is our brains innate and unique response to humour which makes us, and those around us, feel good which is an instant social and emotional benefit. Laughter also provides us with many other health benefits, both physically and psychologically. Here are Highlights top 10 health benefits of laughing:
Improves your memory
Scientific research at the Loma Linda University in California discovered that laughter could improve memory and learning. Researchers found that laughter lowers cortisol levels which improved the memory of their cohort of older people aged between 60 and 70 years of age by up to 43%. Excess cortisol can damage the area of the brain responsible for short-term memory, the hippocampus, which can eventually impair learning and memory.
Laughter is one of the best forms of stress relief, making you happier. This might be obvious, but the cause is due to an increase in health-enhancing hormones and a decrease in the levels of stress hormones like cortisol and epinephrine. If it’s a real belly laugh, then the workout of muscles improves blood circulation that helps reduce some of the physical symptoms of stress. Also, when you laugh, you are happy and happy people attract other happy people. With just 10 to 15 minutes of laughter you can boost your mood which usually leads to healthy choices when it comes to your diet and lifestyle.
Improves Sleep Quality
Researchers in Japan have found that laughing causes the body to produce more melatonin. Melatonin is a hormone released by the brain that is responsible for good sleep quality. For those who suffer with insomnia, the suggestion is to have a laugh the family and friends during the evening to increase your changes of a deep, restful sleep without waking up in the night and feeling tired, lethargic and run down.
Fights Depression and Anxiety
Laughter can help people suffering from either seasonal affective disorder (SAD) or full-blown depression. Laughter reduces the levels of stress-related hormones and replaces them with feel-good hormones to create a positive state of mind and when a person has a positive attitude toward life, then tend to be more creative and increase their problem-solving abilities, which means things get done. Happy people relate to others better, so by laughing, you'll work better together as a team with family, friends and colleagues.
Laughter causes your entire body to relax which reduces feelings of anxiety and fear, and enhances emotional resilience, putting worries into a different perspective. The joy of laughter is that you cannot be angry, sad or anxious whilst you're laughing.
Boosts the Immune System
There have been several scientific studies that have proven that laughter can improve the immune system by increasing the number of antibodies as well as T-cells in the blood to give a stronger immune system to fight disease and illness, so there will be less chance to get coughs, colds and other infections. Laughter has been seen to improve the physical wellbeing of patients living with cancer and HIV.
Not only does laughter improve the outcome with some illnesses, it has an added benefit of being a natural painkiller according to research carried out at Oxford University and published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society. People who laugh a lot can withstand nearly 10 percent more pain compared to those who do not laugh much. This is because the release of feel-good endorphins into your system works better than morphine to reduce pain as well as distracting you from thoughts of your aches and pains.
Laughter can also help control Type 2 diabetes At the University of Tsukuba in Japan, studies showed that laughter can lower blood sugar levels after a meal among people with this type. The hypothesis is that laughter has a direct impact on the neuroendocrine system, which monitors the body’s glucose levels. It also may be due to the energy used by the stomach muscles while laughing.
Protects the Heart
The heart is a muscle which gets stronger and functions better with exercise, just like any other muscle. When laughing, the lining of the blood vessels expands, leading to increased blood flow. This plays an important role in fighting against atherosclerosis, the hardening of the arteries.
Hypertension, or high blood pressure is a common problem that if left untreated can increase the risk of a heart attack, stroke and kidney disease. As laughter can reduce the body's production of stress hormones such as cortisol, the cause of hypertension which causes the heart to beat harder and faster and increases blood pressure, for a healthier heart, laugh for around 15 to 20 minutes a day.
Keeps You Young
A daily dose of laughter can make you look younger. When you smile and laugh, you are giving yourself a facial workout as up to 15 facial muscles work together. This increases the blood flow around the face, making you look younger and healthier.
Makes You Energetic
Laughter can also energise the mind and body. When laughing you breath deeper, which increases the flow of oxygen around the body’s muscles and organs, resulting in more energy. This leads to improved alertness, creativity and memory.
For the sake of your health, just laugh.