HEALTH CENTER

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Laughter by Marilee Tapley

Audrey Hepburn once said, “I honestly think it’s the thing I like most, to laugh. It cures a multitude of ills.” She believed laughter was indeed the best medicine. This was the opinion of one of the world’s most beloved actresses. But what do the world’s leading scientists say?

Laughter does indeed have positive health benefits. 

The Benefits

Muscle Relaxation- Muscle tension can be relieved by a simple joke. The effects can even last for up to 45 minutes after laughing. If you don’t have time to meditate, make some time to squeeze in a good chuckle.

Stress Hormone Reduction- Laughter actually causes the body to decrease the production of stress hormones and glucocorticoids. Those suffering from depression, anxiety, and PTSD will experience a relief of symptoms as well.

Happy Heart- Laughter causes a reduction in blood pressure, which leads to a happy, and healthier heart. Cardiovascular disease, heart attack, and stroke are less likely to occur.

Endorphins- While laughter decreases the release of stress hormones, it increases the release of happy ones. Endorphins are produced by the body during funny times, causing an increase in happiness and a decrease in stress. It’s the same as a “runner’s high.”

Attraction- Behavioral psychology shows that people are attracted to happy people. Laughter and smiles make us appear more inviting. Also, it demonstrates the kind of person others want to be. You do attract more flies with honey!

Increased Immunity- While studies on the effects of laughter on the immune system are still new, the evidence is promising. Chuckles are linked to an increase in the release of cytokines, which fight infections and attacks on the body. Kick the sniffles with the giggles! 

Fake it ‘til You Make It

If you’re down and you need a pick me up, smile or laugh. With the simple physical action, the body senses the muscles being utilized and inherently releases endorphins. You’ll start to feel better just by pretending to be happy!

That’s what Friends are For

Studies show that the effects of laughter are magnified when in a group setting. Also, when you’re with friends, you are more likely to laugh aloud at funny things than when you are alone. As a result, you gain companionship AND a therapeutic laugh. Furthermore, the more you laugh with a group, the more trust the group develops. It enhances the ability to problem solve and produce as a team, while also strengthening friendships.

So it turns out Audrey was right. This brings a whole new meaning to “Funny Face.” Now about that “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”

http://www.helpguide.org/life/humor_laughter_health.htm

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2686627/

The information provided is for general interest only and should not be misconstrued as a diagnosis, prognosis or treatment recommendation. This information does not in any way constitute the practice of medicine, or any other health care profession. Readers are directed to consult their health care provider regarding their specific health situation. Marque Medical is not liable for any action taken by a reader based upon this information.