Healthy heart tip #19 - Laugh more for a happy and healthy heart

Laughter, indeed, is the best remedy!

Read this in Hindi.

Ever crossed a park and found a group of people just laughing loudly for no reason? No, they're not crazy. They are just doing what they should to keep their heart healthy. According to a study[1], laughter has both psychological and physiological health benefits, including coping skills, enhanced mood, reduced stress levels and also increases the heart rate, respiration rate and oxygen consumption. Read: Stress can lead to heart disease.

In India, Madan Kataria, MD and founder of Laughter Yoga International, developed something called laughter yoga, which is a combination of pranayama and laughter. Try it out whenever you can. According to another study[2], there are two types of laughter, one that is spontaneous (triggered by positive emotions) and self-induced laughter (triggered by yourself at will). The brain can't differentiate between these two as both of them occur with or without humour. The advantage here is that since the brain can't identify between forced laughter and actual laughter, the benefits remain same for both. Here's how you can beat stress with yoga.

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Laughing is a very positive thing. It relieves you of stress, which helps you keep heart diseases away. Not only does it keep your heart healthy but it also makes your immune system stronger. It doesn't have to be forced laughter all the time. Apart from laughter yoga, you can also do things that can make you happy. Catch a play in the city, spend time with family, watch your favourite shows that make you laugh. The whole point of laughter therapy is that you must be positive and happy, to have a happy and healthy heart.

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1. Dolgoff-Kaspar, R., Baldwin, A., Johnson, S., Edling, N., & Sethi, G. K. (2012). Effect of Laughter Yoga on mood and heart rate variability in patients awaiting organ transplantation: A pilot study. Alternative Therapies in Health & Medicine, 18(5), 61-66.

2. Mora-Ripoll, R. (2010). The therapeutic value of laughter in medicine. Altern Ther Health Med, 16(6), 56-64.

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