Giggle Your Way to Good Health: The Doctor-Approved Benefits of Belly Laughs

AM Smile

Laughter has often been described as an inner jog since laughing helps stimulate your cardiovascular system, exercises diaphragm and abdominal muscles, strengthens shoulders and relaxes your body by lowering blood pressure and relieving stress.

Studies show that humor increases antibody-producing cells and boosts your immune system, while decreasing cortisol, a stress hormone that can compromise immunity.

1. Lowers Blood Pressure

Laughter provides our hearts and lungs with an incredible cardio workout, increasing oxygen intake while simultaneously expanding blood vessels to aid the heart in pumping more efficiently. Furthermore, laughing reduces four stress hormones (epinephrine, dopac, growth hormone and cortisol), thus lowering both systolic and diastolic blood pressure levels.

When we laugh, the inner lining of our blood vessels (the endothelium) expands, leading to 20% increased blood flow throughout our bodies and protecting us against atherosclerosis - one of the leading causes of heart disease.

Studies conducted at the University of Maryland demonstrated that those who laughed regularly experienced a reduction in systolic blood pressure while those who seldom or never laughed experienced an increase. Table 2 displays associations between frequency of laughter and changes in systolic blood pressure over time for men with baseline drinking status.

2. Reduces Stress

Laughter can both reduce stress and improve immunity. Laughter increases T-cells that fight sickness while also releasing endorphins to ease pain relief. Furthermore, laughter serves as a healthy coping mechanism, encouraging us to view life more positively while increasing empowerment to solve issues more efficiently.

Laughter provides physical relief by engaging the abdominal muscles and stretching shoulders and neck muscles, and can even serve as an exercise form that burns calories equivalent to those burned through moderate walking.

Try listening to or watching comedy videos during your commute, enroll in laughter yoga class, host friends over for a game that makes you laugh or watch silly movies together - remember laughter is free medicine that works better with company! Consider joining a laughter support group so that you get maximum benefit out of laughing!

3. Improves Sleep

Studies show that people who laugh 15 or more times per day tend to have stronger immune systems, since laughter stimulates their body's production of antibodies to fight illness and disease.

Your body releases feel-good hormones epinephrine and dopamine when you laugh, relaxing your muscles while increasing blood flow to your heart and lungs for improved cardiovascular workouts and ultimately decreasing your blood pressure over time.

Laughter helps reduce cortisol, the stress hormone. Chronic stress can lead to high blood pressure, memory and concentration loss, depression and insomnia - but adding humor into your daily routine and watching humorous videos can help relieve this burden and improve sleep quality. Simulated laughter increases beta-endorphins that release endorphins which relieve tension - this is why laughter therapy is often employed as an effective therapy treatment option for mental illnesses like anxiety and depression.

4. Strengthens Immune System

Researchers have proven that laughter boosts immune systems and is proven to make life more enjoyable, which could make living longer a reality for us all.

Laughter stimulates your face, legs and back muscles as well as diaphragm; increases blood flow to heart and lungs; boosts immune systems; burns calories! One 10-minute session of laughter has the power to burn up to 40.

Laughter and positive thoughts trigger neuropeptides that help your body fight off infection, while reduced stress levels have a positive effect on immunity. According to one study, cancer patients who had a strong sense of humor had higher levels of infection-fighting T cells and natural killer cells compared with patients without such sense of humor - researchers are currently studying what role humor may have in improving outcomes of cancer treatments.

5. Relieves Pain

Studies show that laughing is an excellent form of physical fitness. A hearty laugh helps strengthen the diaphragm, abdomen and shoulders as well as expanding blood vessels for greater blood flow to muscles.

Laughter stimulates the release of endorphins which act as natural painkillers in the body. Studies have revealed that people suffering chronic pain find relief after sharing an amusing moment.

Ought not necessarily be seen as a panacea, laughter can help restore equilibrium to our nervous systems and combat stressors. No matter whether we laugh out loud during TV sitcoms or privately at newspaper cartoons - laughter has long been proven beneficial; even fake laughter can bring some relief!

6. Burns Calories

Laughing helps increase blood circulation and oxygenation throughout your tissues. It releases endorphins and nitric oxide which cause your blood vessels to dilate while simultaneously blocking stress hormones such as adrenaline and noradrenaline which could narrow them.

Although laughing won't provide the same abdominal-toning benefits of crunches, it can still provide an effective alternative fitness method - studies from Vanderbilt University Medical Center indicate that 15 minutes of laughing can burn just as many calories as a light jog!

Make laughter a regular part of your daily routine to maximize its therapeutic effects and reap its maximum rewards. Subscribe to a comedy podcast or follow accounts that make you laugh on social media; or incorporate laughing yoga into your exercise program for maximum effectiveness.

7. Increases Flexibility

Alongside nutrition, exercise, restful sleep, meditation and laughter therapy as tools for wellness, laughter is another powerful wellness resource you should incorporate into your routine. Laughter stimulates diaphragmatic breathing while activating parasympathetic nervous system to ease muscle tension.

Laughter can even boost the activity of your immune system. In particular, laughter increases natural killer (NK) cell activity - these special immune system cells that work against cancerous and viral-infected cells in our bodies.

Put down your sneakers and settle back to watch a hilarious video. Snort, giggle and giggle as much as you can to relieve tension - laughter really is the best medicine and free! For additional health tips and recovery resources visit Twin Lakes Recovery Center who are committed to helping you live a healthy life.

8. Improves Mental Health

Laughter can do wonders for both our physical and mental wellbeing. A good belly laugh stimulates your body's own natural painkillers to release, as well as decrease stress by producing an endorphin-rich hormone release that boosts positive feelings.

Deep breathing that occurs while laughing increases oxygen intake and stimulates your heart, lungs and muscles. It may even help improve immunity since laughing reduces stress hormone release that lowers immunity while increasing production of neuropeptides and infection-fighting antibodies.

Introduce some humor and laughter into your life to increase health and well-being - it could even add years to your lifespan!

9. Boosts Self-Esteem

Laughter and humor are social activities that foster bonding amongst us and help us feel more at ease with one another. Additionally, laughter helps us deal with adversity better and can even add meaning and purpose to life by adding laughter into it.

Humor can play an essential role in both mental and physical wellbeing, helping manage stress hormones that suppress immunity and keep stress at bay. Studies have revealed that individuals who possess healthy senses of humor have lower risks of death from all causes as well as heart disease and infection.

Laughter activates the parasympathetic nervous system--the "rest and digest" response--that helps lower blood pressure. While not a replacement for regular exercise, laughing can burn 10-40 calories an hour with similar cardiovascular benefits as moderate aerobic workouts.

10. Relieves Depression

Researchers have recently found that laughter helps the brain regulate stress hormones cortisol and epinephrine. Furthermore, laughing often -- even artificial laughter -- burns calories while lifting your mood and improving overall well-being. Furthermore, laughter serves as an invaluable coping mechanism for depression sufferers; helping them take themselves less seriously thus potentially increasing self-esteem.

Depression often interferes with spontaneous laughter. Madan Kataria, MD and founder of Laughter Yoga suggests you don't need to be happy in order to laugh out loud: your body simply doesn't recognize whether the laughter is real or imagined! "Your body just knows whether it's genuine or artificial!" says Madan.

Make time each day to laugh heartily - whether that be with comedy shows or cat videos! Endorphins released through laughter provide your body with an endorphin "high," as well as stimulating your heart and lungs for increased oxygen flow, helping promote healthy cell growth and muscle relaxation.


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