The Best Medicine is…Laughter?
Laughter generally makes us and those around us feel good. There are plenty of old quotes linking laughter with medicine but the most famous one has to be…
“Laughter Is The Best Medicine”
Everybody loves a good hearty laugh that comes from deep within. Laughing can also be contagious with those around us. In this case contagious is a good thing! Did you know, that laughter actually does have positive effects on our bodies health? The following are some of the positive effects that laughter may have:
1. Relaxation Aid. A good laugh is able to relieve physical and emotional tension/stress while relaxing tense or tired muscles. Research has shown that a good laugh can keep our muscles relaxed for up to 45 minutes.
2. Immune System Booster. Laughter has the ability to reduce the levels of stress hormones (cortisol, dopac, epinephrine, and growth hormone) in the body. By lowering these stress hormones, it gives your immune system and antibodies a boost by improving your ability to resist disease and improve our bodies resiliency to diseases. Research has shown that 10-15 minutes of laughter burns almost 50 calories. This physical activity also results in an increase in movement of lymphatic fluids which helps the immune system to more effectively clear cellular waste. Laughter also results in an increase in blood oxygen content and circulation which may help to inhibit the growth of parasites, bacteria, and cancer cells.
3. Well being. Simply…Laughter makes us feel good. The response by the body to laughter is the release of endorphins. When there is an increased release of endorphins in the body, we are overcome with a sense of joy and well being. Endorphin release has also been shown to reduce and relieve pain for a short time period. Laughter activates the mesolimbic reward pathway in the brain, the same pleasure area of the brain that is utilized by cocaine, other addicting substances, and rewarding activities.
4. Heart Guard. Laughter causes a response by the body that can dilate blood vessels. These dilated blood vessels will cause an increase in blood flow and allow for improved function of the heart. Anecdotal research shows those who laugh more tend to fare better against heart attacks, cardiovascular (heart) disease, and other heart issues.
5. Social Benefits. Is there anything better than laughing with friends? Not just a simple chuckle but the type where tears are rolling down our eyes. That type of laugh comes from deep within. Psychologists have shown that people who smile and laugh more attract more friends than those who do not. Laughter can also remove the element of conflict and can strengthen relationships. Studies have shown that laughter is 30 times more likely to occur if you are with others than when alone.
Laughter has many benefits but there are many people who do not laugh fully because they lack confidence in their smile. It could be due to a smile that is missing teeth, not as white as they may wish, or it could be due to crooked teeth. We should never be ashamed of a good smile or a good laugh especially amongst friends. If you are self confident about your smile, visit your dentist and see if it can be fixed. You deserve to feel more self confident and enjoy the benefits of smiling and laughing.