From hundreds of years ago to the present, laughter is believed to have a positive impact on a wide range of health conditions. From the plague to a case of the blues, having a hearty laugh will make one feel better about their situation…but why is that?
Laughter has been increasingly recognized as a powerful tool in the healing process, and recent research has shed light on its physiological and psychological effects. When we laugh, our bodies undergo a series of positive changes that contribute to our overall well-being.
As we laugh, our blood vessels dilate, improving blood flow and reducing blood pressure. This cardiovascular benefit contributes to a healthier heart and a decreased risk of cardiovascular diseases. The improved blood vessel function may also help protect against conditions such as heart attacks and strokes, linking giggling to numerous health benefits.
While a chuckle is not a replacement for medical treatment, incorporating humor into a pain management plan can improve the overall experience of individuals dealing with health problems.
Beyond the physical benefits, laughter releases endorphins, known as "feel-good" hormones (Dopamine, Serotonin, Endorphins, and Oxytocin), into the bloodstream, which decreases the levels of stress hormones like cortisol that help to combat the harmful effects of chronic stress.
Deeper than stress, laughter plays a crucial role in promoting mental health. It can reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression by increasing the production of neurotransmitters like serotonin. Even laughing with others can promote resilience in the face of adversity.
Incorporating laughter into our routines can have significant effects on both physical and mental health. As we navigate the complexities of various diseases, embracing the healing power of laughter may prove to be the cure we need. The adage 'Laughter is the best medicine' may hold more truth than we might have realized.
So the next time you’re feeling down, have a couple of laughs, you’ll feel better in a matter of seconds!
To learn more about the effects of laughter on the human body and soul, visit the quick article from the Mayo Clinic below. To find more in-depth information about laughter and how different types of laughter may evoke different reactions in the body, visit the National Library of Medicine below.
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Louie, Dexter, et al. “The Laughter Prescription: A Tool for Lifestyle Medicine.” American
Journal of Lifestyle Medicine, U.S. National Library of Medicine, 23 June 2016,
www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6125057/. Accessed 15 Nov. 2023
“Stress Relief from Laughter? It’s No Joke.” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical
Education and Research, 22 Sept. 2023, www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-
management/in-depth/stress-relief/art-20044456. Accessed 15 Nov. 2023