They say that laughter is the best medicine… and they’re not wrong! This hysterical panacea works wonders for the physical and mental wellbeing of those who enjoy it regularly. Here’s how laughing can make you happier and healthier.
From giggles to belly laughs, laughter releases powerful chemicals into the brain, which have positive outcomes on the body.
Endorphins, serotonin, and dopamine caused by laughter can create a “high” that promotes a good mood, relieves stress, and helps reduce depression and anxiety.
Chortle-induced endorphins not only make you feel happier, but they’re also powerful painkillers. In fact, endorphins work similarly to morphine in the brain to reduce pain. Unlike morphine, however, the endorphins our bodies produce aren’t addictive.
As hysterical hooting relieves stress, it also bolsters the immune system. According to research from Loma Linda University, laughter increases antibodies in the blood by 14%. These antibodies are responsible for protecting the body from illness.
In addition to providing immune system benefits, giggling also strengthens the heart by increasing blood flow and therefore reducing blood pressure.
According to researchers at Vanderbilt University, you can burn between 10 and 40 calories by chuckling for 10-15 minutes. While giggling isn’t as effective of a workout as biking or swimming are, it’s a sneaky way to burn a few extra calories.
You can think of laughing as cardio; it raises the heart rate by 10-20 percent and increases energy use.
Giggling is also a strengthening exercise. According to a study published in the Journal of Motor Behavior, laughing is as effective at engaging the abdominal, oblique, and spine muscles as doing crunches and back extensions.
Having trouble remembering what you did yesterday? Chortling can help. Laughter decreases stress hormone cortisol. Cortisol can block the neurons that are responsible for memory and learning functions. With less cortisol in our brains, our short term memory improves.
Laughing is healthy for the mind, body, and soul. Need to add some laughter to your day? Watch a funny movie or TV show, spend time with grandchildren (they say the funniest things!), or read some jokes!