How Can A Good Laugh Improve Health?

Does it sound to simple to say that a good laugh can improve health? How do you feel when you watch a really funny movie – one where you laugh so hard you have to stop and breathe? Or when you hear a funny story with family or friends that

How do you feel when you watch a really funny movie – one where you laugh so hard you have to stop and breathe?

Or when you hear a funny story with family or friends that strikes your funny bone and gives you a good belly laugh?

The answer is probably that you feel good. You probably feel a momentary lift and may even notice a lift in the tension in your body. Well, that momentary good feeling is more than it seems and is caused by forces more medical than just thinking that guy is really funny!

Here is a general overview of the health benefits from having a good laugh.

Health Boosts From a Good Laugh

The benefits of a good laugh are wide-ranging and can include protection from emotional issues like depression and improving the health of your heart. Here’s what experts know about the health benefits of laughter:

Mental health benefits.

Although you probably can’t laugh off depression, one of the many benefits of laughter and a sense of humor is that they buffer you against the negatives of life that could lead to depression. As an added bonus, research shows that people who use humor to fight stress also feel less lonely and more positive about themselves. And one recent study found that humor therapy was as effective as widely used antipsychotic drugs — minus the side effects — in managing agitation in patients with dementia.

Physical benefits.

Although we can’t yet say that a certain number of laughs every day will keep the doctor away, studies show that people who say they laugh a lot also tend to be in good health and generally feel well. Laughter is also one of the most commonly used complementary therapies among cancer patients, who find that one of the benefits of laughter is an improved quality of life.

Heart health benefits.

Laughter could be healthy for your heart, too. Some research shows that when you laugh, there is an increase in oxygen-rich blood flow in your body, possibly due to the release of endorphins, which create a chemical rush that counters negative feelings and stress. Activities that increase endorphins include a good workout and listening to music you love, and laughter deserves its place on the list with these other stress busters. – Everyday Health

Laughing Can Improve Health Both Short And Long Term

That’s right! The good effects of laughter are both short and long term benefits. Here’s a look at some of the specific benefits right now and over the years of bringing laughter into your life.

Short-term benefits

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 it can increase 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 can help reduce some of the physical symptoms of stress.

Long-term effects

Laughter isn’t just a quick pick-me-up, though. It’s also good for you over the long term. 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 can 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.

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 may make you feel happier. – Mayo Clinic 

Do you laugh at least a few minutes every day? Every week? Every month?