We’re bombarded daily with a massive load of information – most of it serious, somewhat depressing, and certainly challenging. Today our blog is about a low cost, natural way to feel better. In fact, the health benefits of this suggestion are amazing. What’s the answer? Laughing!
According to the Mayo Clinic, laughing can have both short and long term benefits.
Short Term Benefits
A good laugh has great short-term effects. When you start to laugh, it doesn't just lighten your load mentally, it actually induces physical changes in your body. Laughter can:
Stimulate many organs. Laughter enhances your intake of oxygen-rich air, stimulates your heart, lungs and muscles, and increases the endorphins that are released by your brain.
Activate and relieve your stress response. A rollicking laugh fires up and then cools down your stress response, and it can increase and then decrease your heart rate and blood pressure. The result? A good, relaxed feeling.
Soothe tension. Laughter can also stimulate circulation and aid muscle relaxation, both of which can help reduce some of the physical symptoms of stress.
Long Term Effects
Laughter isn't just a quick pick-me-up, though. It's also good for you over the long term. Laughter may:
Improve your immune system. Negative thoughts manifest into chemical reactions that can affect your body by bringing more stress into your system and decreasing your immunity. By contrast, positive thoughts can actually release neuropeptides that help fight stress and potentially more-serious illnesses.
Relieve pain. Laughter may ease pain by causing the body to produce its own natural painkillers.
Increase personal satisfaction. Laughter can also make it easier to cope with difficult situations. It also helps you connect with other people.
Improve your mood. Many people experience depression, sometimes due to chronic illnesses. Laughter can help lessen your depression and anxiety and may make you feel happier.
In a recent Time Magazine article, Dr. Lee Berk an associate professor at Loma Linda University in California who has spent nearly three decades studying the ways the aftershocks of a good laugh ripple through your brain and body supports the laughing theory.
Hardly a week goes by without new research tying stress to another major ailment. Why mention stress? “Because laughter appears to cause all the reciprocal, or opposite, effects of stress,” Berk explains. He says laughter shuts down the release of stress hormones like cortisol. It also triggers the production of feel-good neurochemicals like dopamine, which have all kinds of calming, anti-anxiety benefits. Think of laughter as the yin to stress’s yang.
Dean and Draper
We hope you will laugh a little or a lot and feel better for it. When you’re ready to talk about your insurance, we are only a phone call away.
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