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Human Aging:Benefits of Laughter
Laughter has been proven to enhance the immune system
When we laugh, our body releases hormones that decrease our stress levels; it increases our levels of endorphins. Laughter also causes an increase and enhances the action of hormones that fight infections in our bodies.
A research study, led by Dr Michael Miller MD, director of the Center for Preventive Cardiology at the University of Maryland Medical Center and associate professor of medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine has recently shown for the first time that laughter is linked to healthy function of blood vessels.
This is the first study done to indicate that laughter may help prevent heart disease. The most significant finding of the study was that individuals with a diagnosis of heart disease responded with a less humorous attitude to everyday life situations. These individuals showed more anger and had a more hostile attitude and therefore generally laughed less, even in positive situations. Who knew that laughter may prevent heart disease!
Laughter has been shown to lower blood sugar levels. A research study done on individuals with type II diabetes showed that after a meal the participants were asked to attend a rather boring conference. The next day, the same meal was eaten by the participants, and after eating they were asked to watch a comedy routine. The blood sugar levels showed a significantly smaller increase in blood sugar levels after experiencing laughing episodes during the comedy show.
Research has proven laughter can increase an individual’s threshold for pain. The most remarkable effect laughter may produce is the release of neuropeptides, which act as pain reducers.
A good hearty laugh can help increase your body’s ability to utilize oxygen. When you experience a hearty laugh, you use your diaphragm, contract your abdominal muscles and use your shoulders. This leaves your muscles more relaxed. A hearty laugh also provides a good workout for your heart, having an aerobic activity response and increases the oxygen supply to the muscles. This also helps people to heal more quickly.
Muscle physiologists have shown that the relaxation response after a hearty laugh can last for up to forty-five minutes. Art Buchwald said Laughter, like a virus, is contagious. There are many social benefits to those that know how to enjoy a good laugh. Individuals that enjoy priceless humor were shown to enjoy a good laugh 30 times more frequently in social setting than in solitary situations. Laughter is contagious; the more you laugh, the more you can make others around you laugh. And everyone is able to experience the health benefits of laughter, as well.
Laughter provides a physical and emotional release. It can often provide distractions to take attention away from other negative emotions and feelings we may experience. A light hearted perspective may be another side effect of laughter. Research studies have shown that your response to a stressful situation can be changed merely by how we view things. A sense of humor, or having a more light hearted perspective can change something that we may view as “threatening” to just a “challenging” situation. Taking a more positive approach to life helps one feel they can overcome obstacles in life.
The benefits of laughter affect human aging in many ways: it can stabilize blood pressure, exercises inner organs, improves circulation, and enhances digestion. The physiological changes also help people to heal more quickly, decrease muscle tension and promote a sense of well being.
“Man is the only creature endowed with the power of laughter.”
Charles C, Grevvile