Laughter As Medicine
Most of us have heard the old adage that laughter is the best medicine. While usually chalked up to no more than an old wives tale, recent research now reveals that this might actually have some real truth to it. Medical research is increasingly revealing that laughter and more generally a positive attitude can really have a dramatic effect on our health.
Doctors and cardiologists at the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore have now revealed that laughter can do wonders for the prevention of heart disease. In one study it was determined that people with heart disease were much less likely to laugh in a variety of situations. These people were about forty percent less likely to laugh than other people of the same age without heart disease.
As of yet these researchers have yet to determine definitively just why it is that laughter helps protect the heart, however, they do suggest that it might have something to do with stress levels. Stress can negatively effect the endothelium, which is the barrier lining our blood vessels. Malfunctions in this protective vessel can result in inflammation which can then lead to build up in the coronary arteries, particularly of cholesterol. This in turn leads to heart attack.
Apparently people with heart disease generally responded less to humorous situations in everyday life. These people not only laughed less in their day to day lives, but also tended to be more hostile and angry.
Recommendations for eating well, exercising and giving up smoking are great, but according to the main researcher of the study, regular laughter should maybe now be added to this list. Finding ways to play, to react less seriously and to take ourselves less seriously are just some of the possibilities for adding more laughter into our daily lives. Thus, alongside these other recommendations making sure to experience some laughter and joy will go along way to protecting your heart. And this is obviously in more ways than one.
Some ideas for adding a little laughter into your life include taking a long stroll with that friend that makes you laugh the most, or renting one of your favourite comedies and letting loose. Often, learning to be able to laugh at ourselves is one of the best ways to get in touch with our funny bone. Joining an improvisation group can help get you into a playful spirit, one in which laughing can come quite naturally. If that sounds a little to risky at first, then try going to a comedy club and watching someone else crack the jokes. If you are really in need of some serious laughter and are having trouble cracking a smile with the above techniques you might consider joining a laughter groups.
These groups consist of a group of people getting together and just laughing as much as they can. While at first it might be a little forced, once everyone gets going its apparently pretty difficult to stop. It sounds like a pretty pleasant way to reduce your risk of heart disease.
Whatever it is that you chose making room for joy and laughter will improve your happiness and your health. The benefits of laughter offer a longer and more enjoyable life.
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