Science Shows that Laughter is the Best Medicine

Five reasons why you should laugh every day.

Jan 11, 2021

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Laugh. Be it a giggle, a chuckle, or a howl, it heals. Laughter crosses all cultures and is enjoyed by young and old alike. Known as the best medicine, laughing is good for mind, body, and soul. So laugh deeply and laugh a lot. Here are five healthful benefits that may inspire you to laugh every day.

May help lower blood pressure

The next time you have a fit of laughter be aware of your breath, that is, if you can catch it! Laughing involves taking quick, deep breaths and then exhalations at intervals, which stimulates blood flow.  

A study of what science refers to as “mirthful laughter” shows that blood pressure increases and then decreases, becoming lower than it was before the laugh. This reduction in blood pressure also offers cardiovascular protection.

These researchers found that mirthful laughter may even prevent heart disease; they discovered that people who had heart disease were 40 percent less likely to laugh than people of the same age who did not have heart disease. Go ahead and laugh aloud: doctor’s orders!

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Natural pain killer

If you are feeling achy, turn on your favorite comedy. A good laugh from the heart offers relief to those who suffer from pain, according to Medical News Today.

A study compared the discomfort threshold of participants wearing a tight cuff. One group watched a 20-minute comedy routine, while the others watched a boring video or nothing at all. Those who laughed had a marked reduction in their sensitivity to discomfort, and researchers say this was more than the effects of distraction.

It is no surprise that laughing is often recommended to help people heal. With humor therapy, laughter yoga, and laughing meditation, plus your own favorite comedians to watch, laughing may be the most fun form of medicine!

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Provides a workout

When you laugh, especially from the belly, you are using many muscles including the abdominals, diaphragm, shoulder, back muscles, and facial muscles, according to Organic Facts.

A good, deep belly laugh is also cleansing. Along with laughter comes increased breathing which, in turn, sends blood that has been enriched with oxygen to the brain and throughout the body.

This natural form of exercise even burns calories. A study found that laughing aloud causes a 10 to 15 percent increase in energy expenditure and an increase in heart rate. Add laughter to your exercise routine; you could burn 10 to 40 calories after 10 to 15 minutes of laughing!

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Laughing uplifts

This is a laughing matter! The act of laughing is a catalyst to increase those feel-good hormones called endorphins as well as neurotransmitters, according to Organic Facts. These endorphins act like opiates, making people feel uplifted. Laughing also helps reduce tension by decreasing stress hormones including cortisol.

Laughing also provides brain food. A study of 20 older adults showed that mirthful laughter actually increases learning ability and memory. When you have a good laugh, you will have fun, feel good, and enjoy increased brain activity plus cognitive functioning.

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Could strengthen your Immune system

With winter here, it is important to look after your immune health. Aside from eating a healthy diet and taking vitamins, a good dose of laughter is important. 

A study of 52 men who watched a humorous video for an hour showed an increase in the amount of infection-fighting antibodies as well as disease-fighting proteins. These positive effects were seen for up to 12 hours after enjoying a good laugh. When you take vitamin C, dose up on a giggle!

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NICOLE NATHAN BEM, CONTRIBUTOR
Nicole is an editor, blogger and author who has recently left her urban life in order to be more connected with nature. In her spare time, she’s outdoors hiking in the forest, mountain biking or tending to her new permaculture garden.