Posted on 04/17/2018 at 10:39 AM by Troy Cummings
April is National Humor Month!
April Fool’s Day kicked off National Humor Month and the theme ties in perfectly with the health topic we’ve been discussing in April – STRESS! It turns out that there is real merit to the saying “laughter is the best medicine”. In fact, research suggests that laughter can decrease stress hormones, reduce artery inflammation and increase HDL (the “good” cholesterol).
However, it doesn’t end there! A good laugh can provide your body with some great short-term and long-term effects. The short-term effects include:
- Stimulating organs: Laughter increase your intake of oxygen-rich air which stimulates your heart, lungs and muscles. It also increases the endorphins released by your brain.
- Activate and relieve your stress response: A boisterous laugh can heat up and then cool down your stress response. The result is an increase then decrease in heart rate and blood pressure which results in a calm, relaxed feeling.
- Soothe tension: Laughter can stimulate circulation and aid muscle relaxation which can help reduce some of the physical symptoms of stress.
This is what can happen when you use laughter as medicine long-term:
- Improve your immune system: Negative thoughts manifest into chemical reactions that can negatively affect your body by introducing more stress into your system and decreasing immunity. In contrast, positive thoughts can release neuropeptides that help fight stress and potentially even more serious illness. Aren’t our bodies amazing?!
- Increase personal satisfaction: Laughter can make it easier to cope with difficult situations. It can also help you connect to other people and strengthen your social networks and relationships.
Try to lighten up and laugh at yourself more. Don’t take yourself seriously all the time and watch your stress start to fade away. Watch a funny movie, listen to a PodCast or call up your funniest friend! The effects of a good laugh have been found to last for up to 24 hours, so make sure you take this “medication” daily!
Written by Kasey Lockett