Okay, so it might be a stretch to call laughter the best medicine, but there is evidence that suggests it can yield a lot of advantages for your health. In addition to being just plain fun and lifting your spirits, having a good laugh could actually be beneficial to your physical health, as well as your mental health. In fact, laughter could actually be protecting your heart.
The first reason why laughter is good for your heart probably doesn’t surprise you: it lowers stress and releases endorphins that improve your mood. You’ve likely experienced this sense of improved well-being after spending a fun night with friends or watching a funny movie. However, while reduced stress is definitely a step in the right direction for improved heart health, it might just be the start to the benefits of laughter.
Laughter can also lower your blood pressure and improve blood vessel function through increased blood flow. Too much stress can cause harm to the endothelium—the lining of your blood vessels that protects them from inflammatory reactions—and laughter helps to inhibit this process by reducing the amount of cortisol (a stress hormone) and adrenaline in your body.
Though this correlation isn’t strong enough for doctors to start handing out prescriptions for an hour of giggling, it’s certainly one health trend that doesn’t hurt to try out. And while laughing is definitely no substitute for healthy eating and consistent exercise, you might just want to add a few funny opportunities to put some extra giggles into your day.
Five Quick and Easy Ways to Laugh More and Stress Less
- Make a lunch date with a friend who always makes you smile.
- Start your day out by reading some comics or satire.
- Decorate your workspace with pictures that make you chuckle.
- Buy tickets to a comedy show.
- Try out a new television show known for its jokes.
What’s something that made you laugh today? Just in case you can’t think of anything, we’ll leave you with a joke:
Why did the house go to the doctor?
…Because it had a window pain(pane)!