In my quest for a healthy lifestyle you may wonder why I’ve just ordered several comedy DVDs from sitcoms such as One Foot in the Grave, Rab C. Nesbitt and Black Adder. Well, it’s because I truly believe laughter is the best medicine. People with a sense of humor are much happier.
I’ve been finding that TV has been pretty depressing lately, the news is full of reports of shootings, stabbings, beatings and people having limbs blown off. Rarely are there any news items to make us laugh, smile or generally feel good about society.
There’s loads of health benefits associated with laughter, here’s a list of just 5.
1. Stress-busting Tears
When’s the last time you laughed so hard you cried? If it’s been a while, now’s the time to start. When we cry, whether it’s through sorrow or joy, it helps us reduce stress.
2. Immune Fighting Saliva
Dr Lee Berk of California’s Loma Linda University tested the saliva of people after a laughing fit. It was found that after laughing, people had higher levels of immunoglobulins which help us fight off disease.
3. Oxygenate the Blood
When you laugh so hard your belly hurts, you’ll be interested to know that your lungs are having to work harder than normal, meaning your blood become enriched with oxygen.
4. Reduce Stress and Heart Disease
Michael Miller, cardiologist at University of Maryland had subjects watch a stressful scene from Saving Private Ryan one day and a funny scene from There’s Something About Mary the next.
Using an ultrasound machine to monitor blood vessel linings it was found that they narrowed after people watched Saving Private Ryan but expanded after There’s Something About Mary.
When the blood vessels narrow stress hormones like cortisol are released causing blood clots and potentially heart disease. When the vessels expand the opposite happens, healthy chemicals such as nitric oxide are released and blood clots reduce.
5. Increased Tolerance to Pain
Are you a bit of a woose? A study carried out in 1987 by Rosemary Cogan at Texas Tech found that people who watched 20 minutes of comedy could tolerate more pain than those who watched an informational tape or no tape at all.
Question: What makes you laugh?