The Health Benefits of Laughter
It’s fun to share a deep-rooted belly laugh. Not only is laughing a great way of drawing closer to others but also of improving physical and emotional health.
Indeed, laughter is the best medicine, and we couldn’t agree more! Especially that this assertion is actually backed by science.
Laughter can help reduce blood pressure
High blood pressure (or hypertension) is one of the most prevalent causes of death. According to the American Heart Association (AHA), more than 100 million Americans have high blood pressure.
“The death rate from high blood pressure increased by nearly 11 percent in the United States between 2005 and 2015, and the actual number of deaths rose by almost 38 percent — up to nearly 79,000 by 2015,” reported by AHA.
According to the American Institute of Stress, stress has long been linked with hypertension. And while there are several other factors that impact blood pressure, “stress can be shown to aggravate almost all.”
“Job stress… has been clearly shown to be associated with increased rates of hypertension and coronary heart disease,” says the study.
Clearly, stress can affect your blood pressure. The good news is, laughter can help reduce stress and, therefore, prevent you from elevating your blood pressure levels. This is supported by the study published by the American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine (206 Jun 23; The Laughter Prescription).
The study concluded: “…both laughter and humor can have deep and long-lasting psychological effects. Research is indicating that the physical act of laughing, even without humor is linked to chemical changes in the body that potentially reduce stress.”
Laughter Reduces Anxiety
We all feel sad sometimes. In most cases, our sadness, worries, and sorrows fade. But there are also times that getting away from all these negative emotions seem out of the question.
When everything is gray, you have to remember that there is a way out. Science proves that laughter can help us fight anxiety as well as other negative feelings.
A study by the Educational Technology Research and Development (Sep 1995, vol. 43, Issue 3, pp. 6-28) tells us that humor can reduce anxiety.
Humor also has an emotional impact that increases motivation, improves self-esteem, and produces a higher perceived quality of life.
A 2015-study looked into the effects of laughter therapy on cancer patients with anxiety, stress, and depression. The results were thrilling. The study proved that laughter therapy may decrease anxiety, stress, and depression. It may also increase the quality of life in patients with cancer.
Laughter Can Strengthen the Immune System
Before the cold and flu season come, it may be a good idea to fortify your immune system. Eating healthy and taking supplements sure are steps to reinforce your body’s defense system, but did you know that your giggles and chuckles can also boost your immune system?
The Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine published a study to support this fact. In 2007, they looked into the evidence for the effect of humor on various immune system components.
The journal states that there have to be more studies to establish the claim. But it also mentioned that a patient named Norman Cousins has been cured from ankylosing spondylitis with the help of therapies including laughter.
Laughter Can Improve Your Breathing
Don’t hold your laughter. It turns out that laughing can actually increase your heart rate, oxygen consumption, and respiratory rate — the exact same things that happen when you’re working out.
A 2009 study, the International Journal of Humor Research, revealed that these changes in the body last as long as the laughter itself. So, if you laugh for 20 to 30 minutes, then you can skip the gym already.
Humor does more to the body than just making us chuckle and giggle. You get to improve your body both physically and mentally when you laugh. You can battle depression and anxiety, lower your blood pressure, strengthen your immune system, and improve your breathing.
And you know what else is great about laughter? It’s free! So when you’re feeling down or physically weak, then a dose of laughter can help! Studies prove that laughter can do a lot in your body.