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6 reasons why laughing is good for health

Laughter is the best medicine for mind and body as it exerts various health benefits in addition to making you happy.

Written by Bhavyajyoti Chilukoti |Published : September 8, 2017 11:05 AM IST

We have been always told that laughter is the best medicine. The fact that laughter is good for health is backed with many research studies which have shown that laughing exerts physiological, social, psychological as well as spiritual effects on the body in addition to enhancing the quality of life. And the best part being this priceless medicine is fun, easy to use and lacks any contraindications (as various medicines) and free. Here are top 6 health benefits why laughing is good for overall well-being.

Prevents heart disease

Many research studies have proved that laughter exerts a positive effect on the heart in addition to lowering the risk of heart disease by 40% [1]. Laughing enhances blood flow to the heart and improves the functioning of blood vessels which ultimately offers protection against cardiovascular health complications like heart attack .

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Helps in weight loss

Most of us turn to junk food (so-called comfort food by many) or chocolates, when we are tired or stressed-out, which is the main reason for putting on excess weight. But studies claim that laughter can act as an effective aid in curbing your cravings and thus help in weight management [2]. This is because laughing causes the release of a brain chemical called serotonin, which acts as a natural appetite suppressant making you feel full. Also laughter activates body muscles right from the tummy to the shoulders providing similar effects as a ten-minute exercise on rowing machine. Read about fun ways to lose weight.

Acts as a natural pain reliever

Laughter triggers the release of the body s natural feel-good hormones, clinically termed endorphins. Apart from being good for the overall well-being of an individual, these brain chemicals act as a natural painkiller relieving body pain. Laughter is also found to ease certain muscle disorders by hindering the pain-spasm cycle [3]. Read about 5 alternatives to pain medication.

Relieves stress

A good, hearty laugh not only relaxes your muscles but also relieves physical tension and stress. It also helps in maintaining a normal blood flow in the body in addition to making you more energetic and happy. Laughter improves the supply of oxygen to the brain and various body organs thereby enhancing neurological performance and efficacy and also providing relief from stress and depression [4]. Read about Stress buster tip Indulge in your favourite hobby.

Helps you sleep better

In the hustle and bustle of life, most of us suffer from lack of sleep which might lead to insomnia or other allied problems like concentration issues and high blood pressure. But, a good dose of laughter acts as a natural aid for a good night s sleep and also prevents insomnia by triggering the release of sleep-inducing hormones [4]. Read about 5 natural alternatives to sleep medication.

Improves skin tone and texture

Research studies have shown that laughter has far-reaching health benefits on the brain and body [5]. It acts as a natural anti-ageing agent that helps you look younger, active and also makes you fit, both mentally and physically. This is because it enhances blood flow to the face and reduces stress (which affects your skin tone and elasticity, causing wrinkles) and provides a natural glow. Read about 5 reasons pomegranate is good for the skin.

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References:

1. Hayashi K, Kawachi I, Ohira T, Kondo K, Shirai K, Kondo N. Laughter is the Best Medicine? A Cross-Sectional Study of Cardiovascular Disease Among Older Japanese Adults. J Epidemiol. 2016 Oct 5;26(10):546-552. Epub 2016 Mar 12. PubMed PMID: 26972732; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5037252.

2. Bast ES, Berry EM. Laugh Away the Fat? Therapeutic Humor in the Control of Stress-induced Emotional Eating. Rambam Maimonides Med J. 2014 Jan 21;5(1):e0007. doi: 10.5041/RMMJ.10141. eCollection 2014 Jan. PubMed PMID: 24498514; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3904482.

3. Tse MM, Lo AP, Cheng TL, Chan EK, Chan AH, Chung HS. Humor therapy: relieving chronic pain and enhancing happiness for older adults. J Aging Res. 2010 Jun 28;2010:343574. doi: 10.4061/2010/343574. PubMed PMID: 21151506; PubMed Central

PMCID: PMC2989702.

4. Ko HJ, Youn CH. Effects of laughter therapy on depression, cognition and sleep among the community-dwelling elderly. Geriatr Gerontol Int. 2011 Jul;11(3):267-74. doi: 10.1111/j.1447-0594.2010.00680.x. Epub 2011 Jan 17. PubMed PMID: 21241447.

5. Yim J. Therapeutic Benefits of Laughter in Mental Health: A Theoretical Review. Tohoku J Exp Med. 2016;239(3):243-9. doi: 10.1620/tjem.239.243. Review. PubMed PMID: 27439375.

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