It is commonplace for humans to resort to laughter to beat the blues of depression or fight back during tough phases in life. At such times, laughter is the best medicine. During the pandemic that brought the planet to a grinding halt, plenty of people indulged in watching funny TV shows or cartoons to boost their mood and thwart feelings of negativity and depression. In fact, some popular brands resorted to broadcasting humorous advertisements to grab the attention of consumers in recent times.
Laughter is a wonderful and versatile method that can be used to stave off thoughts and feelings that may lead to negativity. It is capable of easing tension. It acts as a glue to hold relationships intact. In modern times, people cope with stress, exhaustion, doubt, and depression a lot. Through humor and laughter, it is possible to give a much-needed boost to your emotional health.
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Why laughter is the best medicine
A number of study findings have suggested that resorting to laughing can bring a number of mental and physical health benefits.
- Laughing can impact the nerves and muscles in the human body in a positive manner. According to the view of Ronald A. Berk, associated with Johns Hopkins University, laughter can impact the central nervous system and it also affects muscular, cardiovascular, and respiratory nerves.
- A lot of adults and teens suffer from blood pressure-related issues. This can pave the way to serious health issues later. While blood pressure relating medications are there, it is advisable to indulge in laughing. A study that was published in Medical Hypotheses hints that people indulging in laughing regularly have a more stabilized blood pressure than those who do not. This is natural, given the fact that laughter stimulates blood circulation.
- A Stanford University professor, Dr. William Fry, opines that laughing can condition cardiac, abdominal, and facial muscles well. This is good for those people who do not work out much. It helps the muscles relax, too. In fact, laughing for 10 minutes or more helps burn around 40 calories!
- People coping with chronic and recurring pains and aches can try laughter as a complementary method to alleviate the severity of the pain. This can be good for people coping with pain caused by conditions and ailments like arthritis. Psychologist Rosemary Cogan conducted a pressure cuff test on candidates and saw the beneficial impact of watching humorous shows. The study was later published in the coveted Journal of Behavioral Medicine.
- Laughing also helps reduce the secretion of stress hormones. Studies have hinted laughter helps reduce the secretion of 4 stress-inducing neuroendocrine hormones in the human body. Laughing also triggers endorphins in the body. These are known as “feel-good hormones.” These chemicals make you feel good.
- Clinical studies carried out at the Loma Linda University by Dr. Lee Berk show that laughter strengthens the level of immunity. This is possible because laughter boosts the number of infection-fighting antibodies. In other words, laughing sends a signal to the immune system to augment the level of protection.
- A number of studies have shown that laughter can stimulate both parts of the human brain. This is beneficial for augmenting learning and retaining memory. It also eases psychological stress and keeps the brain alert.
- In an era when people are careful about keeping their lungs and respiratory systems in good shape, laughter can be useful. Laughing serves as a mild form of aerobic workout. Frequent belly laughter ensures your lungs are emptied, prompting the body to inhale fresh air. This produces an effect akin to deep breathing. This, in turn, circulates more oxygen-enriched blood throughout the entire body.
- A study conducted by the University of Maryland Medical Center suggests that laughter and humor may reduce the risk of getting a cardiac attack. It showed people without heart disease tend to laugh 40 percent more than those with such ailments.