WHY LAUGHTER IS THE BEST MEDICINE
With surprising health benefits aplenty, find out why we should all be getting more laughter in our lives…
A chuckle, a chortle or a good old cackle – whatever your laughing style, there’s never been more reason to give it some airtime. You might not feel like there’s been much opportunity for it this year – 2020 sure has been a strange one – but there really are so many reasons to laugh and smile. Plus, the physical process of laughter works wonders for your health and it’s amazing how many of life’s stresses can be calmed with dose of the giggles!
A natural stress reliever
First up in the laughter charts is its ability to relax you and relieve stress. The act of laughter temporarily increases your blood pressure, but then actively works to lower it in the long run as it helps suppress stress. Studies show that laughter triggers the release of endorphins, the neurotransmitters that make us feel good – this explains that euphoric feeling you get after you’ve laughed hard. It also works to lower the levels of circulating stress hormones, such as epinephrine, norepinephrine and cortisol.
A heart health booster
Adose of laughter is also said to boost your heart rate and dilate your blood vessels, which can contribute to the function of healthy blood vessels and lower your risk of a heart attack. Obviously other factors come into play here, but still, that’s pretty impressive.
A memory marvel
Struggling to retain information? Research shows that laughing can help your short-term memory. It’s thought the stress hormone cortisol damages the neurons involved with learning and memory, so when laughter lowers these levels, it helps to preserve your memory function. Clever, right?
An immune supporter
As well as all of the above, laughter also ramps up your levels of infection-fighting antibodies, which, in turn, boosts your immune system. Perfect reason to let your hair down and have a laugh this winter as we fight off colds and flu.
A muscle toner
And finally, the pièce de résistance… ever woken up with a sore abdomen the day after a hilarious night out with friends? That’s because your diaphragm and abdominal muscles work hard when you laugh, meaning a simple catch-up with pals can turn into a core workout, without you even realizing. Now that’s my kind of exercise!
Get more laughter in your lifeCheck out our tips for getting your giggle on and always seeing the funny side of life…
- First and foremost, meeting up with friends and family, be it physically or virtually, is the best way to induce some laughs. Make sure you have plenty of get-togethers in the diary and make the effort to keep in touch with loved ones, especially during these challenging times.
- Lots of comedians are branching out into the world of podcasts and online gigs due to the current climate, so if you can’t get along to see your favorite in person, see if there are any online options you can tune into.
- I’ve got two words for you – cat videos! There’s nothing funnier or cuter than watching cat videos on YouTube. So rather than flicking through social media or watching the news in your spare moments, why not lose yourself in a bit of YouTube fun instead?
- Finally, the practice of laughter yoga has been around since the mid-nineties and it’s been growing in popularity ever since. The process encourages you to laugh artificially to get the benefits of the act, but more often than not it turns into the real thing. There are laughter yoga classes popping up in most places.